Swedish, USAF EOD forces strengthen NATO ties in combined exercise at Tyndall AFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Zeeshan Naeem
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The commencement of Sweden joining NATO March 7, opened the door to new training opportunities between U.S. and Swedish armed forces. The Swedish army Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Demining Centre first company, sixth team, joined the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD unit for a combined exercise at Tyndall Air Force Base’s Silver Flag training site, April 29-May 3.

The exercise aimed to test and improve the readiness and interoperability between the two countries by establishing camaraderie and providing a platform to exchange techniques, tactics and procedures.

Throughout the five-day exercise, the two teams performed a wide range of operations, including hostage scenarios and complex threat simulations.

“These exercises are important as new allies,” said Staff Sgt. Clayton Manning, 325th CES EOD journeyman. “Building chemistry and experiences are crucial to our relationships with partner nations. At Tyndall, we have the largest Silver Flag training site in the Department of Defense and it’s valuable to have access to all the assets we need to train in a [simulated and realistic] downrange environment.”

Cooperation among allied nations can not only validate and test solutions but helps facilitate rapid employment of future capabilities. This operation was another way to integrate and interoperate with partners, streamlining processes across each country’s procedures.

“If [either] of us [operates] differently we have the ability to experiment with them, in a controlled environment, and implement it in our training back home so we can increase our capabilities, with the significant shift in us becoming a partner nation,” said Swedish army Cpl. Filip Davidsson, an EOD and demining first company, sixth team member.

The first day of the exercise focused on demolition proficiency and the effects of dynamic charges against improvised explosive devices. Subsequent training days challenged both teams to utilize a variety of techniques to render safety and dispose of explosive hazards in a simulated Middle Eastern area of operation, incorporating real-world experiences to enhance detection and removal of IEDs.

“I hope we can keep working with [Sweden] often,” Manning said. “This exercise, planned over multiple months, aimed to provide a foundation for strengthening the partnership between joint nations, and I would say it was a complete success.”