Explosive ordinance disposal airmen at McConnell AFB, Kan., last month broke from daily operations to focus on mitigating the risks of their hazardous work. “The purpose of our annual safety day is to take a strategic pause in our operations to prevent future loss of life and limb,” stated Capt. Dustin Koslowsky, 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron EOD flight commander. Since 2005, the Air Force has lost 14 EOD technicians in the line of duty; more than 70 have received one or more Purple Hearts, according to McConnell officials. Along with a focus on safety and best practices, the airmen received reminders during safety day to care for comrades and use aids such as the chaplaincy and family advocacy to work through post-deployment strain. “EOD airmen make a great number of sacrifices and some have given the ultimate sacrifice,” said Koslowsky. (McConnell report by A1C Armando A. Schwier-Morales)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.