123rd EOD sweeps NGB civil engineer awards

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Horton
  • 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight recently swept a civil engineering competition at the National Guard Bureau, taking home four awards.

The Master Blaster of the Year — an annual award that recognizes an outstanding United States Air Force EOD Airman, noncommissioned officer and senior noncommissioned officer for their contributions to the unit, base, command and EOD program — was won by Airmen from the 123rd EOD flight for all three categories, said Lt Col. Jarret Goddard, commander of the 123rd Civil Engineer Squadron.

"Our EOD flight is top notch," Goddard said. "This sweep is kind of unprecedented, but it's not surprising with the caliber of our people. They are highly trained, highly capable Airmen who take their job seriously and do a fantastic job."

Senior Airman John M. Forcht, Master Sgt. Dustin J. Turner and Master Sgt. Christopher R. Terrell were selected based on their leadership and management abilities, contributions to the EOD program, training and self-improvement, and their initiative and resourcefulness during the award period.

Forcht, winner of the Airman category, collaborated with Kentucky State Police, organizing two events in which 10 unexploded ordnances and 223 pounds of high explosives were destroyed. He also attended high-elevation counter-improvised explosive device training, where he was selected as a superior performer. Along with Turner, Forcht identified and disposed of two World War II era munitions, mitigating danger to 2,000 locals and preserving a $298,000 property.

Turner, winner of the noncommissioned officer category, spotted four ranges in three states, clearing 2,300 acres and 97 targets, and returning 62.5 tons of scrap. Along with Terrell, he ensured the safety of the president and vice president of the United States by organizing three sweep teams and sterilizing 119,000 square feet of potential hazards. Additionally, Turner oversaw an operation clearing 450 unexploded ordnances and 100 acres, allowing for 6,400 training sorties.

Terrell, winner of the senior noncommissioned officer category, led and fostered the career progression of nine Airmen, working 54 days in 2021 despite being a drill-status Guardsman. He managed EOD’s role in the State Partnership Program in Ecuador, overseeing five members and improving partner nation relations. He also led a mission aiding in the disposal of 250 pounds of explosives, saving $100,000 in Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation fines.

In addition to the individual awards, the flight earned the Senior Master Sergeant Gerald J. Stryzak Award, which recognizes the United States Air Force EOD flight or detachment that distinguished itself as the year's top performer through sustained superior mission support, outstanding program management and community involvement.