An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Luke | Training Exercise Road RAPTER

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elias Carrero
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 56th Fighter Wing Explosive Ordnance Disposal team hosted Road RAPTER, a training exercise focused on the proper handling of weapons of mass destruction September 5-7, 2023, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

Road RAPTER or Radiological Assistance Program Training for Emergency Response, was spearheaded by Luke AFB’s EOD unit, the Phoenix Regional Render Safe Team, and the Radiological Assistance Program.

“There were three organizations and roughly 50 people involved with this event,” said Senior Airman Jacob Turcotte, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal technician. “We brought the Phoenix RRST and RAP here because in a real-world scenario, these are the organizations we would be working with to render safe a WMD.”

The Department of Energy’s RAP leverages the knowledge of nuclear scientists, engineers and technicians from national laboratories and sites all across the country to assist the public with radiological incidents such as radiological accidents, searching for lost or stolen radiological sources, and community preparedness.

Additionally, the Phoenix RRST is made up of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, Bomb Technicians assigned to the Phoenix Police Department, Glendale PD, Mesa PD, Tempe PD, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Phoenix Fire Department and Arizona Department of Public Safety. They train monthly and also partner with DOE and DOD agencies regularly.

“This training is extremely beneficial for all organizations involved,” said Turcotte. “It gives us the opportunity to share different tactics and techniques, essentially adding tools to our toolbox so we will be fully prepared in a real-world scenario.”

The full training took three days, the first two days were classroom time lead by the RAP team, who provided the training aids and study materials for Road RAPTER.

“RAP works to standardize training for various response organizations,” said Dr. Jose Trevino, RAP Region 4 outreach coordinator. “Our goal is to have all participants in our trainings, like the 56th EOD team members, develop a better working knowledge of the radiation hazards that they might encounter while out on a mission so that they can respond in a safe and effective manner when out in the field.”

RAP also provided the study materials and training aids used on the final day of training, a WMD response exercise lead by the Phenix RRST and Luke EOD teams.

“This training alongside our Air Force EOD counterparts demonstrates how a critical incident response requires effort from multiple government agencies,” said Taylor Biggs, FBI Phoenix special agent. “The Phoenix RRST bomb techs receive data from EOD that enables them to conduct a proper assessment of the threat and direct all bomb techs on scene in executing advanced procedures to deal with a WMD.”

WMD response is part of Luke EOD’s nine mission sets. While real world calls for this mission set are scarce, the skills are perishable. It is only through training that Airmen in all career fields stay ready to competently carry out their responsibilities when duty calls. Training like this helps Luke Airmen and local partners advance and hone their skills to prepare to win tomorrow’s fight.