HomeNewsArticle Display

Andersen EOD technician completes DPAA Vietnam mission

Portrait photo of Sgt. Bivins

Tech. Sgt. Dylan Bivins, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal noncommissioned officer in charge of training, poses for a photo at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, July 20, 2021. Bivins cleared more than 115,000 square feet of land for ordnance and aircraft wreckage during a Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency mission, in early spring 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael S. Murphy)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNS) --

The Vietnam jungle canopied overhead as the explosive ordnance disposal Airman entered his bamboo hut where a birthday cake covered in blue and white frosting, and a group of teammates were waiting for him.

“I know that doesn’t sound like much,” said Tech. Sgt. Dylan Bivins, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal noncommissioned officer in charge of training. “I had gotten news that day that my cousin had passed away, and I was having a pretty rough time. The team made me feel really good in that moment.”

Bivins was an EOD team leader on a Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency mission at an undisclosed location in Vietnam, early this spring. Bivins led his team through a 32-day mission, and cleared more than 115,000 square feet of land for ordnance and aircraft wreckage. His leadership said his guidance ensured the safety of 117 DPAA personnel and local nationals.

The DPAA mission is to return service members from past conflicts to the U.S., where proper burial ceremonies can be given.

“EOD personnel are primarily on these missions in case any unexploded ordnance are encountered,” Bivins said. “We are responsible for directing a safe course of action in the event any are found.”

Bivins worked alongside a U.S. Navy EOD technician; together they would search for and set up new dig sites using metal detectors to locate new dig sites.

“Our metal detectors were useful in determining areas with a lot of aircraft wreckage in hopes that the area would also contain MIA personnel remains,” Bivins said.

Since 1973, the remains of more than 1,000 American service members killed in the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to their families with full military honors.

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Bivins said. “All EOD techs that I’ve come across have absolutely loved it. It’s a chance for us to get away from our day-to-day tasks, potentially do some EOD work and participate in a very humbling mission.”

Bivins said one of the hardest tasks he and his team overcame was simply the weather. The heat made it difficult at times to complete the rigid labor needed. He recalls some nights trying to sleep and the weather either being uncomfortably hot or bracingly cold.

“Our welcome letter mentioned that the mission would likely be the most grueling work of our life,” Bivins said. “I stayed at a base camp where we slept in small bamboo huts near our worksite. The bugs were practically unavoidable.”

Bivins’ mission in Vietnam gave him a different perspective on how EOD technicians work. He said he always felt prepared, but there were moments that surprised him.

“It was a little bit of a shock when we moved some leaves and dirt, and there was a UXO right under our noses,” Bivins said. “In Guam, we deal with UXOs routinely. The difference is we’re not the ones that discover them. We just render them safe and then take them to our disposal range.”

Those in the 36th CES/EOD were not surprised with Bivins’ outcome while in Vietnam. They said they knew they were sending one of their best to complete this mission.

“Tech. Sgt. Bivins is one of our most proficient EOD techs at Andersen,” said Tech. Sgt. Kurt Ziobro, 36th CES/EOD flight chief. “His vast experience encountering WWII-era munitions on Guam combined with his impeccable decision-making skills make Sgt. Bivins a vital asset to the recovery of our missing heroes.”

Those interested in volunteering for a DPAA mission should consult with the unit deployment manager. More information on the DPAA mission can be found on their website.

Engage

Twitter
Multinational students and #AirForce instructors from around the globe came together to learn and expand on allied… https://t.co/1qtqi9OrN2
Twitter
Throughout August, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, @grandslamwing operated as a transit hub for Afghan refugees evacuated… https://t.co/amVMg8VqlE
Twitter
The #AirForce released its 2021 assessment on how states support Air and Space Force families. The evaluation measu… https://t.co/bseHKsXUzM
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: A message from @USAirForce & @SpaceForceDoD senior leaders leading up to 9/11: "We will never forget the nearly 3,000 in…
Twitter
Findings from the Department of the Air Force Inspector General Independent Racial Disparity review have been relea… https://t.co/zUZyNB2gT4
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: SecAF Kendall on the two disparity reviews released today by the Department of the Air Force: "[This] isn’t the end of a…
Twitter
RT @UnderSecAF: Our continued commitment of honesty and transparency to the women and men of the Air Force and Space Force remains unwaveri…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: We must continue to listen to our people, understand what they are experiencing, and receive their feedback as we take st…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: The Department of the Air Force released updates on its first Racial Disparity Review & the results of a second, expande…
Twitter
The Department of the Air Force released a progress update on the Inspector General Independent Racial Disparity Re… https://t.co/yStaRW3ZA9
Twitter
Innovators and thought leaders gathered at the AFWERX Innovation Hub in Las Vegas, Nevada, to review technologies t… https://t.co/Oozq4M1Xek
Twitter
Air chiefs and senior enlisted leaders from the Indo-Pacific region gathered for the Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium a… https://t.co/E3nzEm18If
Twitter
A new technology being directed for use by all @USAF_ACC installations. The Command and Control Incident Management… https://t.co/ovEDVVTYAB
Twitter
Airmen and Guardians selected for a permanent change of station can now access automated family member travel scree… https://t.co/fGbTPuieaz
Twitter
.@WrightPattAFB Airmen were awarded the prestigious #AirForce 2020 Male and Female Athletes of the Year! Each yea… https://t.co/boCRzMEwVy
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: The newly created Air Force Learning Professionals’ online Communities of Practice are now available in MilSuite! These pra…
Twitter
During a recent interview, @UnderSecAF shared her priorities and how she plans to work towards removing barriers, a… https://t.co/iqAhXlid4p
Twitter
Hear why this #Airman chose to get vaccinated. @SecAFOfficial recently directed the COVID-19 vaccine implementati… https://t.co/BpluKPGnmg
Twitter
Dover AFB's 436th Civil Engineer Squadron pest management section was selected as the lead test hub for future Spot… https://t.co/WEkCBqnRzW
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,374,346
Follow Us