Protégé reunites with mentor, becomes the teacher
By Airman 1st Class Ramon A. Adelan, 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 29, 2015
BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, California --
After sleepless nights, hours of rigorous training and aspirations of providing direct support in combat, Senior Airman Daniel Fox's dream of becoming an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician became a reality.
"Providing safety to those around me is the most rewarding part of the job," Fox said. "Becoming an EOD technician gave me an opportunity to serve in the Air Force the way I had envisioned."
Fox started his Air Force career working as a pest management technician at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, but after meeting Master Sgt. Jayson Wells there, Fox took the opportunity to cross train into EOD.
"Usually when I get Airmen who want to cross train into EOD, they want to do more in their Air Force career," Wells said. "So I ask them, 'is EOD something you really want to do?' I only want to help those individuals who desperately desire to make a difference, not those seeking money or self-recognition."
Before Fox could become a candidate to cross train, he had to pass various tests, including a physical fitness assessment, explosive safety tests and receive endorsement from the Ellsworth EOD Flight Chief.
"Fox's first exposure to EOD was participation in a combat focused 24-hour exercise," Wells said. "This exercise simulated the stressors EOD Airmen are exposed to in stateside, overseas and combat situations. We want to overstress the body, kick the 'fight or flight' mechanism into gear while depriving you of sleep to see if you can cognitively adapt to the environment."
After conducting countless hours of training with Wells and the Ellsworth EOD flight, Fox was accepted to the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal technical school located at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
EOD School teaches students to detect, identify, render safe, recover and dispose of explosive ordnance such as, improvised explosive devices, conventional military ordnance and chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. It takes approximately eight months to complete training.
"Fox and I stayed in touch throughout his training," Wells said. "He would express frustrations and failures during training with the constant fear of failing out. The most important mindset for any trainee is that he or she find a way to complete training. I tried providing words of encouragement to help him stay focused on the task."
According to Fox, EOD School was the biggest challenge of his life, but with support from Wells and his family, Fox completed training.
"During tech school, every Air Force student in my class was getting orders. I was waiting for mine and constantly checking the virtual Military Personnel Flight website to see if I received mine," Fox said. "The day I got orders to Beale, I was very excited and immediately called Sgt. Wells. It was exciting to know I would work with him again."
Fox and Wells are now members of the 9th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight at Beale Air Force Base, California.
Fox has been at Beale for three and half months during which he has responded to three unexploded ordnance emergencies, completed standby qualifications, supported Sentry Eagle 2015 facilitating 335 training and escort sorties and completing his career development courses.
"Fox has received the best training our quality assurance and training sections can provide. His commitment to excellence has enabled him to now teach me in somewhat of a role reversal to keep me abreast on new emerging technologies," Wells said. "He is a vital asset to our team and part of the bright future of EOD; who will replace me one day."