• Arizona
  • Thursday , Feb 1 , 2018

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San Tan Valley Area Information

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Bomb squads from around the Southwest training at Pinal Air Park

bombsquad

Bomb squads from around the Southwest are training at Pinal Air Park in Marana. It's part of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives so-called "Raven's Challenge" explosives training. 

"If you don't practice and hone these skills, then that long walk becomes a 'mal dia.' And we don't want to have a bad day," said Johnnie Green, an ATF Bomb Technician.

The bomb squads are participating in real life scenarios. It's a chance for them to train with real explosives they know what to do when the call comes.

"Really get a good in-depth knowledge of how their equipment is gonna work in that type of environment," said Mike Eggeston, a contractor working with Raven's Challenge.

The scenarios range from situations like a suspicious device on an airliner, to new trends like bombs placed in ATMs.

"[ATM bombings] increased over 400% in the year of 2020. We're already seeing in 2021 that we'll probably overcome the numbers that we had in the year of 2020," said David Bebout, a Raven's Challenge instructor.

The event in Marana is one of five separate events organized by ATF taking place throughout the year.

Military explosive teams also participate to lend their experience.

Normally international bomb squads also take part, but COVID-19 restrictions are keeping them from joining in on this years Raven's Challenge events.
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