Bomb Techs From Around US In Oklahoma For National Training

Wednesday, March 24th 2021, 6:13 pm


Some of the best bomb techs from the U.S. are in Green Country this week for a national training.

Dozens of people are at Camp Gruber in Braggs for “Raven’s Challenge” which is training for federal and local law enforcements and military bomb squads.

A lot of times the military, federal agencies, and local law enforcement don't have the chance to work together unless they are dealing with a real life bomb threat.

This special training gives them a chance to work together, with scenarios that are as real as possible.

Whether it's diffusing a bomb in a building, in a package, or on railroad tracks, these bomb techs face dangerous, even deadly situations.

"The goal is to make it as real as possible for the bomb techs and the EOD techs so that they are working in the environments with the actual ATM's that are plugged in and functioning like they would in real life,” said ATF Special Agent Matt Nollau.

Bomb techs from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kansas are spending the week at Camp Gruber.

They will be put through 18 different real life bomb threat scenarios.

ATF agents say threats are constantly evolving; so the training has to change, too.

“The teamwork aspect is essential because no one person can run all the equipment and material in order to perform the actions, so they have to work as a team,” said ATF Senior Officer Danny Waltenbaugh.

One of the big focuses this year is people using explosives to blow up ATM’s. Agents say there have been more than 130 bomb threats at ATM’s in the last five years.

"We are just concerned the problem is going to get worse, not better. Unfortunately, it is becoming a greater problem. They have the opportunity--the bomb techs--of actually working on live functioning ATM's and using their tools and experiences to defeat the problem and make it safe for the community,” said Nollau.

Agents say this kind of training gives federal and local law enforcement agencies a chance to work together in a controlled setting.

"We are being proactive in developing training for the things that we see as potential threats in the future, so we are able to deal with those threats when they emerge,” said Waltenbaugh.

This week's training wraps up on Friday, but the ATF says the Raven's Challenge training will be back at Camp Gruber again, next year.


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