Dangerous Jobs: Airman Discusses ‘the Greatest job in the Military’

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Neil Jones, the Flight Chief of the 39 Civil Engineer Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Neil Jones, the Flight Chief of the 39 Civil Engineer Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight. Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Tony Campbell.

By U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Neil Jones, the Flight Chief of the 39 Civil Engineer Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, based at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.

I have been in explosive ordnance disposal for 15 years. My father told me to try to find a job I loved, and it would never feel like work. For me, EOD is that job. Basically, my job entails being able to disarm explosives, from a pipe bomb to a nuclear weapon, and everything in between. It is the greatest job in the military and I love it.

Ninety-five percent of the time my job doesn’t feel like work because of the Airmen that are a part of this career field. The men and women in EOD are like no others. If you ask any EOD Airman, they will tell you we are all family in EOD.

Unlike most jobs, EOD doesn’t have the luxury of making mistakes, our motto is “initial success or total failure.” When someone in an office makes a mistake they may be reprimanded or even fired. When we make mistakes, we don’t come home at the end of the day.

This war has claimed 12 of our Airmen, one being my best friend. These EOD Airmen are a constant reminder of how dangerous our job is and why we train so hard.

We try to train more and train harder every day because our lives are literally on the line each and every time we have a mission. Our training is on par with some of the best in world, and we have to train more to make sure we’re a step ahead of our enemies, who are using more and more insidious methods to attack us.

I serve because I love to serve. I didn’t know it at first, but it grew over time and I got to the point of not wanting to do anything but serve.

As a youth I always thought, “What’s in it for me?” During my time in the military I learned that everything wasn’t about me; my mentality transformed into “What’s in it for my Airmen, for my military and for my country?”

I am blessed to have an incredible wife and three children that understand my job, and they support me doing it despite the danger. With my family’s support, I can do something that I love: serve in the U.S. Air Force as an EOD technician.



Tune into the Military Channel’s “Toughest Military Jobs” to see Jones featured in the episode “Danger,” Thursday, May 27 at 9 p.m. ET. Learn how some of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. Military are performed, including Air Force EOD techs, Army chemical soldiers, and Marine Corps Special Operations Forces.

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