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Archive for the ‘EOD’ Category

Rheinmetall and WilNor Governmental Services, Together with Experienced Norwegian and German Companies, Will Collaborate to Remove Unexploded Ordnance in German Waters

Friday, September 1st, 2023

By combining maritime and technical expertise, the partners will answer the request for quote issued by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, for ordnance removal. 

With reference to an earlier statement by German Naval Yards, Rheinmetall bring together partners to answer the request for quote (RFQ) issued by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV). Complimenting experience and infrastructure make for a strong constellation between Rheinmetall, WilNor Governmental Services, and an extended group of companies. Together, the constellation brings extensive experience and technology to remove unexploded ordnance safely and responsibly.

Rheinmetall has extensive and long-standing expertise in this domain, having planned and implemented concepts and facilities for ammunition disposal for many years.¬
WilNor Governmental Services, a subsidiary company of the Wilhelmsen group, brings the logistics and maritime operations element. The Wilhelmsen group, based in Norway, is the world’s largest maritime network, with activities concentrated on providing products and services to the maritime industry, offshore logistics and technology, renewable energy, ship management, and complex logistical solutions for operating under difficult offshore conditions.

The partners plan to jointly develop and operate an innovative offshore platform for ammunition disposal. Contaminated sites will be cleaned up in a safe and responsible manner, with ammunition disposal taking place offshore at the innovative offshore platform, minimising the danger to marine life and the natural environment.

Future ocean plans
Plans for future offshore wind turbine parks in the same waters, demands a safe seabed. Enabling that reality requires responsible and safe removal of millions of tons of unexploded ordnance first. “We want to assure a cleaner and healthier marine environment. Unexploded ordnance and substances can be unstable and dangerous, and we will avoid the risk of transporting these. It is therefore important that we can safely and responsibly recover unexploded ordnance and render it harmless on the spot. We also aim to minimise the impact on the underwater world and its inhabitants, and prevent future hazards,” says Dr. Deniz Akitürk, managing director of Rheinmetall Project Solutions GmbH. “Time is of the essence because the condition of the ammunition is deteriorating. Effects on the environment are already visible.” 

The constellation of companies is ready to build a reliable unexploded ordnance value chain and look for quick implementation to start surveys and preparations early in 2024. Once all preparation and necessary regulatory processes are completed, the constellation is ready to construct the innovative offshore platform. 
The constellation companies are able to expand from pilot to a full-scale industrial level value chain that can handle more efficient multiple platforms in several operational areas simultaneously.

Parry Labs Receives $38 Million Award for Electronic Warfare System

Tuesday, July 11th, 2023

ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 10, 2023 — ADS Inc. has been awarded a delivery order by DLA Troop Support on behalf of the U.S Army for production of a system to support the safety and security of our troops against modern improvised explosions and electromagnetic threats. The hardware to fulfill the $38 million delivery order will be produced by ADS’s sub-contractor, Parry Labs LLC in Columbia, Maryland.

The expeditionary ultra broadband, man-portable jammer is designed specifically for utilization by certified bomb technicians and enhances soldier lethality through protection and sustainment of operations. This next-generation electronic countermeasures capability “jams” radio frequencies thereby reducing the vulnerability of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) soldiers to the latest Remote Controlled IED (RCIED) threats, which often result in critical injury or death. Development, transition, and fielding of this system will enhance the warfighter’s ability to safely conduct operations and help ensure US forces remain dominant on the battlefield of the future.

“Parry is proud to support the Army and the wider EOD community with this next generation electronic warfare system,” said CEO John Parkes. “Our solution provides capabilities needed by EOD teams to maintain freedom of maneuver and secure lines of communications.”

First delivery of the electronic warfare devices is planned for the early part of FY2024.

High Risk, High Reward

Monday, May 1st, 2023

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo — The people of Kosovo have been working for over 20 years to continue removing unexploded ordnance from conflicts that occurred in the region. The torch has now been passed to the 720th Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Company during Kosovo Force Regional Command-East’s 31st rotation.

“Normally whenever we get one of the 9-lines they’re coming from local civilians,” said Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Baldwin, an EOD Technician with the 720th EOD Company from Baumholder, Germany. “They’ll encounter ordnance either on their own property or when traveling for commerce up in the mountains.”

The team typically receives two to three calls a week during the winter months, and up to five calls during the summer months. This increase is due to individuals going into areas that are usually inaccessible during the winter, like up in the mountains for example, Baldwin said.

“We’ve been finding a wide range of stuff, all the way from World War I up to the war in Kosovo back in the ‘90s,” said 1st Lt. Naomi Dawood, commander of Task Force EOD from the 720th EOD Company, Baumholder, Germany. “I would say hand grenades are probably the most common things we find here though.”

The EOD team at Camp Bondsteel is on call 24/7 and has an average response time of 30 minutes upon receiving a 9-line request. After normal business hours, or if there are multiple calls at once, it may take an hour or more before they are able to leave the base.

However, it’s not just the Soldiers from 720th EOD Company that gets to have all of the fun. Their team works closely with other NATO partners and allies, as well as the Kosovo Security Forces, or KSF, to work together on clearing the region and keeping communities safe.

“Working with other EOD units has really been an honor,” Baldwin said. “It’s very interesting to see some of their practices, they’re very different from what we typically do on response missions, but that’s because we haven’t had a lot of interoperability training with them before coming into theater.”

The KSF also has an advantage when it comes to locating these unexploded ordinances, known as UXO, according to Dawood.

“They’ve been super cooperative and eager to work with us,” Dawood said. “They obviously live here, so they’re a little bit more knowledgeable about the land than we are, which is nice when we get lost sometimes trying to find a UXO.”

The road to becoming an EOD technician is no small feat. The job comes with a rigorous interview process, followed by 9 months of advanced individual training. Another unique part about this military occupational specialty is that enlisted Soldiers and officers alike work side-by-side as classmates throughout the entire course.

1st Lt. Dawood originally wanted to become a doctor when she was commissioning through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, but decided she wanted something a little more adventurous.

“Wanting to become an EOD tech is probably the best thing I’ve done in the Army,” Dawood said. “It’s very exciting and it’s always a challenge, which I really like.”

The excitement and challenges seem to be a large interest in those Soldiers who are interested in taking the career path of an EOD technician. As one of the noncommissioned officers in Task Force EOD, Baldwin said he also enjoys the high intensity moments that come with the job.

“As an EOD tech, I think my favorite part of my job is wherever I’m working with my team members, essentially by ourselves. There is a huge degree of responsibility we inherit whenever we are on mission,” Baldwin said. “We have support from local law enforcement and usually a medic, but other than that, it’s myself and two of my team members working on UXO calls in very high risk situations.”

Operations such as these are vital to the region in ensuring a safe and secure environment for all people of Kosovo. The collaboration between Kosovo Force and local law enforcement is essential for continuing effective communication and dialogue.

“The KFOR mission really is important because it is one of the examples of NATO coming together, supporting a conflict resolution and trying to bring stability to a region,” Baldwin said.

Task Force EOD is committed to their mission here in Kosovo. Their team members are dedicated to the history of the region and the people who live there today.

“This is something that I’ve heard about for a very long time, even before I became an EOD tech, so it’s awesome for me to actually be here and have an impact on the community and learn about the ordnance that’s here,” said Dawood.

By CPL Skyler Schendt

Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Completes Arctic Training Exercise Snow Crab Ex

Friday, February 24th, 2023

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. –U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) completed Snow Crab Exercise (Snow Crab Ex) 23-1 this week following the departure of U.S Navy EOD units and Navy Divers at Camp Ripley in Little Falls, Minnesota.

During the two-week exercise, U.S. Navy EOD tested and evaluated operating in a simulated Arctic environment.

“Navy EOD and Navy Divers clear explosive hazards and underwater obstacles to enable access in (typically) denied areas for the U.S. Navy Fleet,” said Capt. Chuck Eckhart, commander, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2, “so it’s important we continue to train and evolve our capabilities. Snow Crab Ex trained Navy EOD and Navy Divers forces to better operate and survive in the challenging Arctic environment.”

U.S. Navy forces must be able to operate in the Arctic due to “rapidly melting sea ice and increasingly navigable waters”, according to the Department of the Navy’s Strategic Blueprint for the Arctic.

Several Navy EOD units of action participated in Snow Crab Ex, including Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 12, which exercised tactical control over Navy EOD from EODMU 2, Navy Divers from Mobile Dive and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2, as well as Sailors from EOD Expeditionary Support Unit (EODESU) 2 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2.

“During Snow Crab Ex, we put our people and our gear to the test,” said Cmdr. David Scherr, commander, EODMU 12. “The Arctic presents challenging conditions, and lessons learned from Snow Crab Ex will help these Navy EOD teams operate quickly and efficiently anywhere with cold weather.”

All participating units completed Arctic mobility and survival training to ensure they could effectively operate in cold-weather conditions. Navy EOD cleared simulated unexploded ordnance, secured critical infrastructure, and effectively communicated between distributed operating units in a training environment. Navy Divers successfully completed ice dive training to ensure they can complete dive and salvage operations in Arctic waters.

Camp Ripley and the Minnesota National Guard provided ideal conditions and training areas to simulate an Arctic environment for ice and cold weather dive training, where Navy divers can train in a subzero temperature and arduous conditions at training ranges.

EODMU 2, EODMU 12, EODESU 2, and MDSU 2 are headquartered at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story under EODGRU 2. EODGRU 2 operates as part of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and EODGRU 2 provides skilled, capable, and combat-ready deployable Navy EOD and Navy Diver forces around the globe to support a range of operations.

By Lt Brittany Stephens, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two

Explosive Ordnance Disposal First Sergeant Earns U.S. Special Operations Command Award

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – The senior enlisted leader for the U.S. Army’s only Explosive Ordnance Disposal company that supports the 75th Ranger Regiment earned the U.S. Special Operations Command Excalibur Award for NCO Leadership.

U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Chad O. Staples from the 28th Ordnance Company (EOD) (Airborne) was recognized for his service and leadership at the one-of-a-kind company.

The SOCOM commander established the Excalibur Award of Excellence to recognize enlisted leaders who demonstrate the “Warrior Ethos” with outstanding leadership, gallantry, integrity and moral courage during military operations or training.

Sgt. Maj. Shane W. Shorter, the U.S. Special Operations Command senior enlisted advisor, serves as the president of the Excalibur Award Board and the senior enlisted advisors from each of the SOCOM service components vote on the award.

The EOD first sergeant received the 2021 Excalibur Award in 2022 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Staples earned the award for heroism during a compound clearance operation in Afghanistan. After an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated, he disregarded his own injuries to clear a safe path for 13 wounded U.S. and partner nation personnel. During the mission, Staples also identified three more pressure-plate IEDs and provided first aid to the wounded.

Maj. Stephen M. Knudsen, the commander of the 28th Ordnance Company (EOD) (Airborne), said it was a testament to Staples that SOCOM selected a noncommissioned officer from U.S. Army Forces Command and 20th CBRNE Command for the award.

“The company has hands down the best NCOs I’ve ever worked with,” said Knudsen, a native of Sutter Creek, California. “First Sgt. Staples is not only the company’s senior enlisted leader, he’s also a phenomenal example of the next-level leadership, mastery of craft and readiness to take the fight to the enemy that you see in every single NCO in this unit.”

Knudsen has known Staples since they were students at the EOD school more than 12 years ago when Knudsen was a 1st lieutenant and Staples was a sergeant.

“It was apparent then that he has a special, innate leadership quality about him and it’s paid huge dividends during his time as a leader at all levels in the 28th,” said Knudsen.

“In a unit that has had elements deployed in combat for the entirety of its existence, the NCO leaders are not just the backbone of the unit but the standard bearers who ensure the entire team is ready for war at a moment’s notice,” said Knudsen. “They provide motivation that keeps EOD techs moving forward to the sound of the guns. I’ve never seen Soldiers with more loyalty and trust in the first sergeant and it is 100 percent well-placed.”

A graduate of Cal Poly who has deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan three times, Knudsen went to EOD school straight out of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Officer Basic Course. He said serving as the 28th EOD Company commander has been the highlight of his career.

“I enjoy working in dynamic environments and in a culture that places emphasis on problem solving and creative thinking,” said Knudsen. “I can’t think of another place in the Army that embraces those characteristics more than EOD. I can’t single out a moment in 28th as a highlight – they come every week. Just being in the building with these incredible NCOs is highlight enough. I already know I’m in the best job I’ll ever have.”

The Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 28th EOD Company (Airborne) is part of the 192nd EOD Battalion, 52nd EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazards command.

American Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians from 20th CBRNE Command deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.

Staples initially enlisted as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) specialist with the Utah National Guard and served a Chemical Reconnaissance Detachment team leader in the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne).

He decided to become an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician and joined the active-duty U.S. Army in 2008.

“I have always had a desire to serve my country in the military but made the decision to go active as an EOD technician after talking to an Air Force EOD technician from Hill Air Force Base in Utah,” said Staples, a native of Riverton, Utah, who has deployed to Afghanistan eight times. “I felt that the 89D Military Occupation Specialty (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) would be technically demanding and fill a critical tactical role within the Global War on Terror.”

Staples spent his first deployment to Afghanistan in a conventional EOD company where he took photos and made assessments during IED post-blast analysis missions. Prior to joining the 28th EOD Company, he served with the 703rd EOD Company on Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the 759th EOD Company on Fort Irwin, California.

After being involved in multiple IED detonations and seeing the deaths of many coalition personnel and the destruction of many vehicles, Staples wanted to join an EOD company that was renowned for its professionalism and its ability to take the fight to the enemy.

Staples has served with the Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 28th EOD Company for almost eight years.

“The 28th operates in a challenging, high-performance environment that demands consistently high standards. 28th EOD techs always operate in demanding roles while embedded with 75th Ranger Regiment. They are all specifically screened for a position within the company based on their ability to think critically while embroiled in life-or-death situations,” said Staples.

Built to support U.S. Army Rangers and other SOCOM units, the 28th EOD Company has quietly earned numerous awards during decades of combat operations. The unit’s EOD technicians have successfully conducted more than 5,200 operations in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to date. During the Global War on Terrorism, 28th EOD Company Soldiers have earned 32 valorous awards, including two Distinguished Service Crosses and 21 Purple Hearts.

The 28th EOD Company first sergeant said his EOD techs must be able to think on their feet and respond to ever-changing circumstances in the crucible of combat.

“As a leader, it is crucial to assist all personnel in growing already specified characteristics,” said Staples, who added that he hopes to become an EOD Group command sergeant major in the future. “One of the most critical areas to continue the consistent individual and team success is a decentralized command. Done right, it can promote initiative and creativity.”

Staples said there were many highlights to earning the prestigious SOCOM leadership award.

“First and foremost, it highlighted the extremely dynamic and dangerous mission set that everyone in the company is tasked with,” said Staples. “There is always an air of mystery to the 28th EOD Company due to the classified nature of the mission set. This allowed conventional EOD a chance to see and hear a small snip of what everyone in the company is capable of accomplishing any time they are tasked.

“Along with showcasing the company, the opportunity for my family to attend the award ceremony was paramount,” said Staples. “Time and time again my wife and children have watched me leave, never knowing where I was going or what the missions entailed. They have been and always will be the foundation of who I am and why I serve in the military.”

By Walter Ham

Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Paved Way for EOD Technicians in Elite Special Forces Unit

Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

SOUTH FORK, Colo. – If you have spent much time on military-related social media platforms, you’ve probably seen some of the memes featuring a seasoned U.S. Army sergeant major with a Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge and Combat Infantry Badge.

The Army EOD technician behind those memes is retired U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Mike R. Vining, one of the founding members of the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Airborne) and one of the unit’s first EOD technicians.

The reason his Army career has gained so much attention is because Vining has participated in many of the American military operations that defined the latter part of the 20th century, as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician and an elite Special Forces Operator.

Growing up in Howard City, Michigan, Vining was interested in science and mountain climbing. He received chemistry sets for Christmas every year and earned the Grand Prize in a High School Science Fair for a Wilson Cloud Chamber. Vining was also a member of the Science Club and Chess Club and participated in wrestling and track.

Vining then watched a movie that changed the trajectory of his life.

“I saw a World War II movie about a British soldier disarming a large German bomb in an underground chamber in London, England,” said Vining. “I thought, wow, that must take a lot to disarm a large ticking bomb.”

At 17, not long after the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, Vining went to an Army recruiting office and signed up to be an Ammunition Renovation Specialist with the plan of volunteering for EOD as soon as possible. After graduating from basic training camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky, he went to Ammunition Renovation School on Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, where he learned how to destroy unserviceable Code H ammunition during a course that was taught by EOD technicians.

He attended EOD training on Fort McClellan, Alabama, and Indian Head, Maryland, and graduated in May 1969.

While serving with the Technical Escort Unit at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, he volunteered to serve in Vietnam and he spent 11 months with the 99th Ordnance Detachment (EOD) in Phuoc Vinh, Vietnam, in an area west of Saigon and near the Cambodia border.

Two of the most memorable EOD operations of his career happened in 1970 when he participated in the destruction of the Rock Island East and Warehouse Hill enemy weapons and ammunition caches in Cambodia.

Vining was part of the seven-man Army EOD team that supported the 1st Cavalry Division mission to secure and destroy the largest weapons and ammunition cache discovered during the U.S. military’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

Named “Rock Island East” after the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois, the enemy weapons cache had 932 individual weapons and 85 crew-served weapons as well as 7,079,694 small arms and machine gun rounds. The enemy cache also contained almost a thousand rounds of 85mm artillery shells that were used for the D-44 howitzer and the T-34 tank.

Vining and the EOD techs had to dodge enemy fire and endure biting red ants while working on the cache. After setting up “scare charges” to keep enemy forces out of the security perimeter, Vining made it on the helicopter in time to watch the explosion and see the mushroom cloud that was visible from 50 miles away. The seven Army EOD technicians at Rock Island East used 300 cases of C4 explosives to destroy 327 tons of enemy munitions.

During the operation to seize the cache site, 10 American Soldiers died and 20 were injured.

Later at the Warehouse Hill operation in Cambodia, the EOD team had to disarm booby traps and crawl into underground tunnels to place C4 explosives on 14 cache sites. Vining had to contend with large cave crickets, poisonous centipedes, spiders, bats and scorpions in the narrow tunnels. The teams used 120 cases of C4 explosives to destroy hundreds of thousands of enemy rounds.

After completing his tour in Vietnam, Vining left the Army and returned home to Michigan. He got a job at a plant that stamped out automotive body parts for Ford Motor Company and then became the lead employee on the third shift of the largest press in the plant, a 500-ton press.

“Although it was very good pay, I did not see myself doing this for 20 to 30 years,” said Vining. “In October of 1973, I saw my Army recruiter and asked to go back into the Army.”

The U.S. Army recruiter told Vining that he would have to serve as an EOD technician again, which was exactly what he wanted. He was assigned to the 63rd Ordnance Detachment (EOD) on Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Vining was serving on a U.S. Secret Service support mission when his EOD supervisor, Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Ray Foster, Sr., was killed by an improvised explosive device at the Quincy Compressor Division Plant in Illinois, in 1976. Afterward, Vining thought it was time for a change.

“I decided to take Emergency Medical Technician training and following that I decided to volunteer to be a Special Forces medic,” said Vining. “I was getting out of EOD when my control sergeant major told me that they were forming a new Special Forces organization at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and that they were looking for six EOD techs.”

Vining called the number and flew to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for an interview with Col. “Chargin’ Charlie” Beckwith, the founder of the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta. Beckwith envisioned the concept that the U.S. Army should have a counterterrorism unit like the British Special Air Service.

“Two weeks later, I was one of four Army EOD techs to start the Operator Training Course 1,” said Vining. “Only two of us made it through. The second person was (retired Sgt. Maj.) Dennis E. Wolfe.”

One of the unit’s first operations was the clandestine mission to rescue 53 American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran. Known as Operation Eagle Claw, the rescue mission was cancelled after the loss of three helicopters during a sandstorm at the staging site known as Desert One. While the aircraft were leaving the Desert One staging area, a RH-53D helicopter crashed into the transport aircraft that Vining and his team was on.

The helicopter rotor chopped into the top of the fuel-laden aircraft and a fireball shot by Vining and his team. As the EC-130E “Bladder Bird” was engulfed in flames and munitions cooked off around them, Vining and his teammates made it off the aircraft. Vining and his team got on another aircraft with faulty landing gear and just enough fuel to make it across the water to safety.

During the Desert One aircraft collision, eight American troops were killed and both aircraft were destroyed.

Joint Special Operations Command was created as a result of the investigation that followed the ill-fated rescue mission.

In October 1983 during Operation Urgent Fury, when U.S. forces invaded the Caribbean Island of Grenada following the pro-Cuban coup there, Vining was on a rescue team sent to free political prisoners at the Richmond Hill Prison.

His Blackhawk helicopter came under intense enemy anti-aircraft fire on approach to the prison facility and the mission had to be delayed.

The political prisoners were released before a second mission was launched.

After seven years of serving with distinction in Delta Force, Vining accepted an assignment with the 176th Ordnance Detachment (EOD) on Fort Richardson, Alaska. He made the move to be more promotable within the EOD community and to be close to the mountains of the 49th state.

While in Alaska, he maintained his proficiency for EOD missions and later came back to twice climb the 20,310-foot Mount Denali, the highest mountain in North America.

Within one year, he was back at the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, where he would serve in Operation Desert Storm. Although his EOD duties didn’t change, Vining switched to infantry during this time to make himself more promotable within the elite Special Forces unit.

During this second 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta tour, Vining also participated in Operation Pocket Planner during a Federal Penitentiary prison riot in Atlanta in 1987.

Vining would later serve at the Joint Special Operations Command as an exercise planner and J-3 Special Plans sergeant major. He was the Joint Special Operations Task Force senior enlisted advisor aboard the aircraft carrier USS America (CV 66) during Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti.

The sergeant major also served as an explosive investigator on the task force that investigated the 1996 Khobar Tower bombing in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, and he used the lessons learned from that attack to help hardened U.S. installations around the world.

During nearly three decades in uniform, Vining earned the Combat Infantry Badge, Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge, Parachutist Badge, Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge and Austrian Police High Alpine “Gendarmerie-Hochalpinist” Badge.

Vining racked up a huge stack of medals and ribbons that include the Legion of Merit Medal, Bronze Star Medal, two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, Army Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, two Joint Service Achievement Medals and the Army Achievement Medal. He also earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology from the University of the State of New York.

Vining said he was glad when the U.S. Army established the 28th Ordnance Company (EOD) (Airborne) to support U.S. Army Ranger and Special Forces missions around the world, as well as the two Airborne Platoons of the 722nd Ordnance Company (EOD) and 767th Ordnance Company (EOD) to support the 82nd Airborne Division’s Immediate Response Force mission.

The Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based companies are all part of 192nd EOD Battalion, 52nd EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazards command.

Vining said that the Kirtland Air Force Base New Mexico-headquartered 21stOrdnance Company (EOD WMD) was another welcome addition to the U.S. Army EOD units. The highly specialized company is part of the 71st EOD Group and 20th CBRNE Command.

From 19 bases in 16 states, Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians from 20th CBRNE Command take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.

“In my time, Army EOD was viewed as Combat Service Support, but in reality, Army EOD is Combat Support and has always been that way and that means supporting Special Operations and Airborne forces,” said Vining.

Vining said the key to success in the EOD profession is noncommissioned officer (NCO) leadership and mentorship.

“Mentorship is one of the duties of a senior NCO,” he said.

The Army EOD community marked its 80th anniversary in 2022 and NCOs have played a critical role in the EOD profession since its inception. Led by noncommissioned officers, EOD teams often serve on their own in austere environments, covering vast operational areas.

Vining also encouraged EOD techs to seek help for both the seen and unseen scars of war that come with the profession.

“I believe if you spend a career in EOD that you will witness severe injuries and death,” he said. “EOD is an inherently dangerous career but it is also a very rewarding career knowing you have eliminated a hazardous situation.

“If you are suffering from events that you were involved in, you are not alone in dealing with this kind of trauma. I encourage you to open up and just talk about it to a fellow EOD tech or an EOD veteran,” said Vining. “From World War II to the present, we have all witnessed the horrors of war and even the dangerous job we do in peacetime.”

In January 1999, Vining retired from the U.S. Army and married his wife Donna Ikenberry, a hiking guidebook author, professional wildlife photographer and freelance photojournalist. They were engaged at the top of Mount Rainer in Washington and exchanged wedding vows on Mauna Kea, the highest mountain in Hawaii.

Today, they live together in South Fork, Colorado, where Vining continues to enjoy spelunking, skiing, rock climbing and mountaineering. He also remains active in the veteran’s community.

Vining was inducted into the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps Hall of Fame in 2018.

When he hung up his highly decorated uniform after nearly three decades of service, Vining said he never knew that his storied career would later launch a tidal wave of memes.

“I do not know how any of the memes got started,” said Vining. “One of my grandchildren saw that someone even did a Pokémon card on me.”

By Walter Ham

Accomplished EOD Soldier Now Serves as Army Golden Knight

Friday, December 23rd, 2022

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A U.S. Army explosive ordnance disposal Soldier made a grand entrance into the Army-Navy game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Dec. 10.

Staff Sgt. Devin T. Diaz jumped into the stadium during the pre-game activities as a member of the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team.

A native of Sunnyvale, California, Diaz previously served in the 47th Ordnance Company (EOD) on Fort Hood, Texas, and the 759th Ordnance Company (EOD) on Fort Irwin, California.

Both EOD companies are part of the 71st EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazards formation. From 19 bases on 16 states, Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians from 20th CBRNE Command take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.

Diaz later served in the U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group on Fort Meade, Maryland, as an EOD advisor. He was the first staff sergeant to make it through the Operational Advisor Training Course in the history of the group.

Diaz decided to become an EOD technician while serving with the military police in Afghanistan on a Counter Improvised Explosive Device team. He was selected for the EOD program in 2011.

He has deployed to Afghanistan three times, including two deployments with Military Police and one as an EOD team leader. He also deployed with the 759th EOD Company to Syria.

From range clearance operations at the National Training Center on Fort Irwin, California, to defeating improvised explosive devices in a combat zone, Diaz has honed his lifesaving and mission-enabling skills. In one of many unique missions in Afghanistan, as an EOD team leader with the 47th EOD Company, Diaz conducted post-blast analysis on 15 trucks that had been destroyed by insurgents with improvised explosive devices.

While serving in the 759th EOD Company, Diaz was also a member of the winning Bomb Squad team in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-hosted competition called Urban Shield that brought together California SWAT teams, Fire and Rescue Teams, Emergency Medical Services and Bomb Techs.

He said it takes perseverance to succeed as an Army EOD technician.

“The more resilient that you can be, the better an EOD tech you can be,” said Diaz.

Earlier this year, Diaz demonstrated this kind of resilience when he tore his patellar tendon. After having surgery in February, Diaz was told it would take six to eight months before he could run or jump again.

He started running again four months later and participated in a half marathon six months later. On Oct. 9, he jumped into the Army Ten Miler in Washington, D.C., and then ran the race. He said he intends to participate in the Miami Marathon and he is preparing for an ultramarathon in the future.

Diaz was picked for the Golden Knights during the 2020 assessment and selection. Any American Soldier can apply to serve in the Golden Knights if they have completed 75 free fall jumps, either in the military or as a civilian.

Since the team’s inception, the Golden Knights have participated in 16,000 events in 50 states and 48 countries. With 50 jumpers and 50 support personnel, the teams travel roughly 240 days out of every year. They are one of three U.S. Department of Defense-sanctioned aerial demonstration teams, together with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

As a Golden Knight, Diaz has landed at sports venues and community events around the nation.

From landing on the aircraft carrier USS Midway Museum in San Diego to jumping into Yankees Stadium in New York City, Diaz has participated in 40 different events during his two years as a member of the Golden Knights’ Gold Team.

The highlight of his jumps so far has been landing on the field before the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers game, Nov. 13.

“I got to jump into my hometown stadium,” said Diaz, who has served in the U.S. Army for almost 17 years. “Not only did I get to do that, but my wife and my father were on the field when I landed.”

Command Sgt. Maj. David J. Silva, the senior enlisted leader from the 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), said Diaz personifies the high caliber of Soldiers serving in the Army EOD community.

“He is a consummate professional who never stops seeking and conquering the next challenge. Whether its disarming IEDs in Syria, improving the Army’s ability to counter asymmetric threats or now supporting recruiting as a member of the elite Golden Knights, he’s an example of what you can achieve if you refuse to get comfortable,” said Silva, a master EOD technician from Long Beach, California, who is the senior enlisted leader for the EOD group that commands all U.S. Army EOD Soldiers stationed west of the Mississippi River.

“He proves EOD isn’t just a military occupational specialty. It’s a profession that gives you the skills to succeed in any venture. We have bomb techs who are working with industry partners and civilian agencies, flying planes and helicopters, ship captains in the Army’s sea fleet and working in Congressional fellowships. We offer complex training under high pressure situations with caring leaders to ensure mission success. That success doesn’t stop in the Army, it carries over to life,” said Silva. “It’s not just a job, it’s a calling that doesn’t stop at the bomb.”

By Walter Ham

AirBoss Defense Group Receives $40.6 Million in Orders for Husky 2G Vehicles

Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

New Contracts Will Support User Survivability, Route Clearance and Threat Detection

JESSUP, Md., Nov. 07, 2022 — AirBoss Defense Group (“ADG”), a subsidiary of AirBoss of America Corp. (“AirBoss”) today announced that it continues to build business momentum with a $35 million order for ten (10) Husky 2G counter-improvised explosive device (“C-IED”) vehicles. The vehicles will be equipped with a full complement of detection systems and periphery subsystems including ground penetrating radar (“GPR”), M20 Interrogation Arms, Rollover Detection Systems, thermal cameras and RPG-defeat netting. ADG is also responsible for providing comprehensive operator and maintainer training as well as spare parts and sustainment supplies to the customer. Delivery of the vehicles will take place over the next 16 months.

Furthermore, ADG, through its partner, DCD Protected (“DCD”), will be providing three (3) Husky 2G C-IED vehicles, peripheral detection and survivability systems to support a customer in West Africa, valued at up to $5.6 million. ADG and DCD will also be providing spare parts and sustainment supplies as well as comprehensive operator and maintainer training. This contract, with deliveries taking place over the next six months, will provide a critical, best-in-class route clearance and threat detection and interrogation capability that will aid in the ongoing war on terror and efforts to counter a growing extremist threat in the region.

Patrick Callahan, CEO of AirBoss Defense Group said, “AirBoss Defense Group is growing its worldwide leadership in survivability solutions, ranging from IED detection to high-risk environment personal protective equipment. The Husky 2G is a cornerstone product in our portfolio of survivability solutions and is the most survivable vehicle available on the battlefield, providing unparalleled route clearance capabilities to U.S allies around the world. ADG welcomes the opportunity to continue our long partnership with DCD to provide the proven and tested Husky 2G vehicle in support of global route clearance missions.”

These new orders build upon previous U.S. and foreign government procurement from ADG of Husky 2G C-IED vehicles, equipment, spare parts, and training to counter growing IED and landmine threats around the globe. ADG and DCD vehicles enable a rapid response to the growing international demand for proven route clearance and survivability solutions delivered by ADG. Built with a unique V-shaped hull and modular design, the Husky 2G C-IED protects operators from blast impacts, small arms fire, and challenging terrain while supporting sensor systems for threat detection, identification, and mitigation.

The two-operator Husky 2G clearance vehicle was developed to meet the operational requirement for longer, more complex, mounted clearance missions and the employment of more sophisticated vehicle payloads. Recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense as a U.S. Army Top Ten Invention, the 2G platform addresses evolving explosive threats while applying operationally proven survivability capabilities.

For more information, please visit www.adg.com.