FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) -Fort Sill is playing host to a competition aimed at finding the Army's best at dealing with explosives.
Five explosive ordinance disposal, or EOD, teams from around the country are competing against each other in 15 exercises. Some of those events are general Army exercises, like a physical fitness test and weapons qualification, but the majority are more EOD specific exercises, mimicking real-life scenarios that the teams could potentially run into.
For obvious reasons, parts of the competition were off limits to media for security reasons, like removing a suicide vest. However, one of the events in the competition involved a robot that was controlled remotely by two soldiers who used it to investigate a car they believed could potentially be carrying a bomb.
Another event involved missiles and bombs that were on the ground. Teams secured the bombs and went through the necessary process to remove the ones they were able to.
They also participated in an event where they worked to remove a suicide vest from a hostage. In this scenario, an enemy had taken a solider hostage and put him in a vest laced with explosives before being killed. The soldiers had to safely remove the vest from the soldier.
With the way the competition is set up, groups are actually able to learn from each other while they are competing.
"It gives the opportunity for each of the teams to see each other and how they execute their procedures, and how they attack each problem. So, we have procedures like a doctor would have and how they would conduct a surgery, but every surgeon does it slightly different than another," explained Col. Heidi Hoyle.
Colonel Hoyle says it is important for the soldiers to get that additional training because of the potential life or death outcome of each mission.
"The motto of the EOD is 'initial success or total failure,' so when we're talking that, if you do it wrong, it could be a bad day," Col. Hoyle said.
Staff Sergeant Forrest Hull and his team is stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington. He says along with the competition, they are dealing with another brutal enemy.
"Specifically for us, coming out of Fort Lewis, the heat is kind of getting us. It was in the 50s and pretty chilly when we came down here. But other than that, we kind of overcame that adversity and we're pushing through it," Staff Sgt. Hull said.
To deal with the heat, there has been a doctor at all of the events hooking the dehydrated soldiers up to IVs. Staff Sgt. Hull says he has already had two IVs and the members of his team have each had one as well.
He says it is a problem his team will gladly deal with after outperforming the other teams at Fort Lewis and earning the right to compete at Fort Sill.
"It's a big honor to be here competing. We're out here to win and we're doing the best we can," Staff Sgt. Hull said.
Whoever wins the competition at Fort Sill will be chosen to compete at the national level in the Department of the Army competition in September in Virginia.
The five teams competing at Fort Sill are from Fort Lewis, Washington; Fort Carson, Colorado; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Riley, Kansas and Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.