The air force’s bomb disposal technology was blamed for an internal attack in Syria in April


The military sued Tech. Sgt. David Wayne Dezwan, Jr., an Air Force mine disposal technician, in connection with an April insider attack on U.S. troops in Syria.

Dezwan, an active duty member of the 775th Civil Engineer Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, recently received an EOD. He served as a non-commissioned officer in command of the equipment, the Air Force said Thursday.

He was charged with violating the Uniform Rules of Military Justice, including: Dismissal; destruction of military property; Risk of carelessness; Unauthorized access to a government computer; access to classified information; and serious assault.

CNN previously reported that the perpetrator had planted more military-grade explosives than a hand grenade near an ammunition depot and a shower in a small US stronghold in Green Village in northern Syria. The explosions injured four service members who were treated for traumatic brain injuries and returned to work later in April.

About 900 US personnel are in Syria to advise and assist the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting government forces in the country’s civil war.

The Air Force did not say how long Dezwan had been deployed to Syria at the time of the attack. On June 16, he was arrested by the US and held in pre-trial detention. A spokeswoman for Hill declined to say where the suspect is located.

Dezwan is scheduled to appear in Hill Court on August 23 for an Article 32 hearing, where a military judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed to court-martial. The trial is the military justice system’s equivalent of a preliminary hearing before a trial in a civilian court.

Dezwan enlisted in the Air Force in October 2007, two years after graduating high school at Western Michigan, according to a 2010 article in the Holland Sentinel.

In the year While stationed at Kadena Air Base in Japan in 2010, Dezwan earned the Air Force Combat Action Medal for his deployment with the Marine Corps to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province last year.

He told the Holland Sentinel that he earned a medal for a mission in southern Afghanistan, clearing the front line between Delaram and Golestan.

“Twelve hours after we entered the road clearance, we reached a place called Buji Bast Pass. This is the gateway to Black Pass,” said Dezwan in a Q&A article. “The area is known for frequent and deadly violent activities.”

But the road between the two mountains is the only road that passes between the two bases, so sweepers go ahead of the convoy with metal detectors to find any IEDs.

“Halfway through the Buji Bast pass, my vehicle was hit by an IED blast, which exploded under the front right tire. The 40-pound blast completely immobilized the vehicle,” Dezwan said.

In the year An Air Force press release in 2010 said the blast caused Dezwa to hit his head, although it was unclear what happened.

“We only had minor injuries, from some bruises to cuts and a split lip,” he told the Holland Sentinel.

The convoy waited for the recovery team to arrive 24 hours later. An hour later, however, the soldiers were met with indirect mortar fire and gunfire from the mountains above them.

“We returned fire and made the terrorists leave,” Dezwan said. “When our recovery assets arrived, the supporting EOD team vehicle was hit by an IED and a 40-pound mass of homemade explosives about 75 meters away from the location of our disabled vehicle.”

That vehicle was also immobilized.

“Connect with our convoy to continue the mission while we await additional recovery assets,” he added.

Dezwan has received several other military medals, including the Joint Service Achievement Medal from the Air Force, and seven other Achievement and Commendation Medals from the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

It is unclear whether the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Army Criminal Investigation Division are looking for other suspects.

Air Force spokeswoman Anne Stephank said: “Airmen who are charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Rachel Cohen joined Air Force Times in March 2021 as a senior reporter. Her work has appeared in Air Force Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy, Frederick News-Post (Md.), The Washington Post, and others.



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