EOD Airman Always Ready for Dangerous Missions

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- In the 1950s there was a popular show called "Danger is my Business," which featured people who had jobs that involved a lot of risk and danger.

Staff Sgt. Adam Clement, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight range operations coordinator, has such a job. He is a vital part of a 49-person shop.

Clement, a Westfield, New Jersey, native, joined the Air Force in 2003, and said he really didn't have any idea of what he was getting involved with.

"I had no idea what EOD was when I joined," he said. "Most people at the time had no idea what EOD really did, as the war on terror had just kicked off. My recruiter at Military Entrance Processing Station asked me if I wanted to get paid extra money to blow stuff up, and that was all the information he could give me. I thought it sounded awesome, so I went for it."

After completing EOD school at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Clement has had a plethora of assignments in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has found himself involved in missions to protect important American government officials such as the president, vice president and first lady, as well as other heads of state in the United States and around the world.

"When the president or other dignitaries take trips to different venues, such as giving a speech at a political rally or a Sunday morning golf outing, they require Secret Service support," Clement said. "The Secret Service typically requests EOD and K-9 support from the Defense Department for these events. Our mission is to search for any explosive hazards that may be present anywhere the protectee may go."

A thorough check is conducted by EOD personnel and K-9 dogs, as they sweep vehicles, podiums, stages, ceiling tiles, chairs and telephones to ensure the area is safe from improvised explosive devices and weapons, Clement said.

As with any dangerous mission, the people involved prepare themselves mentally and emotionally and Clement is no different.

"The majority of combat missions I've been on, the Army or Marine unit we're supporting will huddle and pray," he said. "Although I'm not particularly religious, I join in because I look at it as a form of meditation and team unity. Preparing for a mission can be just as stressful as the mission itself."

What's more, going over the plan and preparing vehicles and equipment that may save lives is a serious task.

"So being able to take a moment right before we head out to clear our heads and 'get into the game' is really important," he said.

Clement has been stationed at Luke since April 2012, and when he is off duty, he is actively involved playing sports such as softball, soccer and volleyball and enjoys hiking.

More than that, he is a highly decorated Airman, being awarded the Air Force Combat medal, the Air Force Commendation medal, three Army Commendation medals and two Army Achievement medals.

In all, he offered this reflection on his years in EOD.

"I want to add that everything I've accomplished in my career has been a team effort," he said. "Every mission I've been on has been successful due to the hard work and quick thinking of my teammates. The countless teammates I've had over the years deserve as much credit as I do."

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