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31st CES EOD wins AF level award; leads the way

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brooek Moeder
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 31st Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal flight received the 2021 Senior Master Sergeant Gerald J. Stryzak Award for their distinguished achievements.

This award recognizes the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer EOD flight that leads the way as the year’s top performer through sustained superior mission support, outstanding program management and community involvement.

By winning this award, the 31st CES EOD flight proved they are the best out of 52 total EOD flights in the Air Force. Additionally, this year is not the first time the team has been recognized for their work. They also won this award in 2018 and have been named the Stryzak Flight for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa for the last five years.

“Since I’ve been here, my team of approximately 20 Airmen, have consistently had a can-do attitude about various missions,” said Senior Master Sgt. Bradley Kline, 31st CES EOD flight chief.  “It's awesome to get Air Force level recognition for the whole team.”

The team consistently worked together to achieve their goals and fulfill mission priorities.

“We’ve had a lot of good continuity, and that has helped us stay ahead and working together really well,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Colby Forsythe, 31st CES EOD team member.

From Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021, the EOD team supported 28 temporary duty locations.

[TDYs], seven deployments and a variety of other mission sets. However, out of all the TDYs, one stands out to Kline more than the others.

“One of the exercises that sticks out the most to me is the European Defence Agency exercise that Master Sgt. Tyler Aldridge attended,” said Kline. “The European Defense Agency is typically just Europe, and this was the first time America got invited. We got specifically invited because of the relationships Aldridge built.”

Building lasting relationships is one of many things the EOD team accomplished with the European Defence Agency. The relationships and interoperability formed at the exercise will help the teams integrate more closely in the future.

One of the biggest takeaways from the exercise was the fact that the European Defence Agency gained confidence in the 31st CES EOD team’s abilities. Each individual brought their perspectives together and bettered the overall team, said Kline.

To get involved within the U.S. Air Force EOD community, Kline and his team started a new initiative through the Air Force EOD Senior Non-Commissioned Officer group, where individuals can volunteer to speak about EOD technicians who died in service to their country.

“We're big on remembering the fallen and we started this program where other EOD techs share the story of those who were killed in action,” said Kline.

The 31st CES EOD team is striving to maintain their winning streak for years to come.

“Winning this award helped boost overall morale because when a team does really well, everybody's really happy,” said Forsythe. “Everybody's working together really well and it's just a great overall experience.”