NewsHillsborough County


TSA officers train at MacDill on how to spot explosive devices

Annual training falls on 911 anniversary
Posted at 1:52 PM, Sep 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-11 18:47:01-04

TAMPA, Fla. — More than two dozen TSA agents spent the 18th anniversary of 9/11 at MacDill Air force base to train on how to spot explosive devices.

"Fire in the hole!” one TSA officer screamed, before detonating a bomb set up by the 6th Explosive Ordinance disposable unit Wednesday.

Each explosion is even bigger than the last.

“Next shot [is a] det. chord simulating the Christmas day underwear bomber,” said a TSA training coordinator.

HILLSBOROUGH NEWS | The latest headlines from Hillsborough County

TSA officers were left stunned at the aftermath of at least nine bomb were set off. The goal of the training is to get them more comfortable with identifying explosive devices and equipment they may see come through check points.

“The more highly trained TSA personnel we have the better. We want to deter any sort of terrorism we possibly can,” said Staff Sgt. Jordan Oswald, of the 6th Explosive Ordinance Disposable unit.

It’s a training that happens annually and this year fell on a day most of us will never forget — a day George Henges spends remembering his friend Sergio Villanueva, a first responder who died when the twin towers fell.

“He didn’t make it back that day. I did. I was one of the lucky ones,” said Henges.

He doesn’t take the chance at a full life for granted and thanks the men and women of the 6th Explosive Ordinance Unit for helping him and other TSA officers get a better grasp on what to be looking out for.

"It’s amazing how powerful the liquid explosives are. People always complain, what does liquid have to do with it? But it’s amazing how powerful they are and how dangerous they can be in the hands of the wrong people,” he said.

He says the training is crucial to help prevent an event like 9/11 from ever happening again.