4/9/2002 12:00 AM
How would you like to work outdoors, earn good pay and have an opportunity for advancement? Then there could be a job waiting for you as an unexploded ordnance (UXO) technician.
Skilled technicians who can detect, locate, identify and dispose of unexploded military ordnance are in short supply due to the closure of bases and other Department of Defense sites. Once again TEEX is responding to industry needs for skilled workers. The agency offers the only civilian UXO Technician course certified by the U.S. Department of Defense. The five-week class is offered two or three times a year at the Texas A&M Riverside Campus.
“There are jobs available for trained UXO technicians, and the business has an exceptional industry safety standard,” said Tom Gersbeck, UXO program coordinator for the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center. By some estimates, there are at least 16 million acres in the U.S. that require clean-up and remediation in order to be returned to civilian use.
According to a Department of Defense report, approximately 1,900 Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) and 130 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) sites require review for potential UXO. Technicians trained by TEEX will help perform UXO environmental remediation of BRAC sites and FUDS for future public use.
Students in the UXO Technician I class learn explosives safety and how to identify all types of munitions including bombs, missiles, projectiles, rockets, landmines, pyrotechnics, grenades, military explosives and demolition materials. They also learn to locate subsurface UXO using military and civilian magnetometers and geophysical equipment, and to safely excavate, transport and dispose of UXO.
The minimum wage for an entry-level UXO Technician I is $16.67 an hour. Depending on their work location, UXO Technicians, Level I, can earn over $28 an hour, plus they may also receive paid travel, meals and lodging, Gersbeck said. After three years of on-the-job experience, technicians qualify for promotion to UXO Technician II, and after another five years, they will qualify for promotion to Technician III.