EOD Airman fuels local high school’s robotics team

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexis Morris

In addition to representing Team Grissom during a U.S. Army-sponsored explosive ordnance disposal competition this past spring, Staff Sgt. Rockwood Bullard, 434th Civil Engineer Squadron EOD technician, spent over 270 hours volunteering as a mentor for a local robotics team over the course of four months.

“I did FIRST [Robotics] in high school and mentored for one year prior to enlisting,” said Bullard. “When I left for active duty, I couldn’t find a team that was local to me. Then after I came here, I didn’t realize how many there are.”

After transitioning to reserve service, Bullard, determined to once again give back to a program that meant so much to him, found an opportunity to serve as a mechanical mentor for the program at Kokomo High School. Composed of approximately 20 students and seven mentors, the team is “small but mighty” according to the EOD tech.

“When I was in FIRST, I did a lot of machine shop tasks with large tools. My first job out of high school was with a company that sponsored our team and I was doing machining, laser cutting and raw metal fabrication,” he shared. “This is obviously on a smaller scale but they’re pretty smart kids. So it’s simply showing them the techniques and then correcting as they do it.”

Over the course of his inaugural season with the team, which ran from January to April, they ended up placing 11th out of 75 at the state-level and 33rd in their division at the Department of the Air Force-sponsored global championship that was held April 17-20, 2024 in Houston.

“It’s been rewarding to see the kids succeed and grow,” he shared. “They’ve far exceeded my expectations, securing their first district competition win in eight years. It’s been a busy season for sure, running from January to April, but it’s been fun and I hope to continue.”