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Archive for the ‘EOD’ Category

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Soldiers Sharpen Special Forces Support Skills in Danger Zone

Monday, October 24th, 2022

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians are sharpening their ability to operate with some of the nation’s most elite warriors in a bunker on Fort Campbell, Kentucky, called the Danger Zone Training Complex.

EOD Soldiers from the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD) are leveraging the expertise of the training cadre at the specialized facility to prepare for deployments in support of U.S. Army Special Forces units and conventional ground forces.

The Fort Campbell, Kentucky-based 52nd EOD Group commands all Active-Duty U.S. Army EOD units east of the Mississippi River, including two EOD battalions and 14 EOD companies on Army installations in Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and New York.

The 52nd EOD Group is part of the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazards command. The 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the Active-Duty U.S. Army’s EOD technicians and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) specialists, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, five Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Teams and three Nuclear Disablement Teams.

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

Master Sgt. Brandon K. Barenie from the 52nd EOD Group Training Cell said the Danger Zone training cadre includes two senior Army EOD noncommissioned officers and civilian contractors who provide subject matter expertise.

“We operate within and take tasking from the 52nd EOD Group S3 Operations Section yet may work directly with battalions and companies when appropriate,” said Barenie.

According to Barenie, the support team provides training in EOD, chemical, nuclear, maneuver unit integration, Special Forces support operations, exercise design, counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems and sensitive site exploitation, as well as threat guidance research, scheduling and coordinating training evolutions and constructing and fabricating training aids.

As the U.S. Army’s explosive experts, EOD technicians are trained to take on everything from a hand grenade to a nuclear weapon while conducting explosive mitigation missions in support of military operations around the world and domestic authorities across the nation.

U.S. Army EOD units from 20th CBRNE Command deploy to the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Africa Command areas of operations while supporting U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises and Defense Support to Civil Authorities missions for U.S. Northern Command.

Army EOD Soldiers respond when military munitions are discovered, both on and off post. In 2021 alone, Army EOD technicians from 20th CBRNE Command EOD units participated in 1,415 explosive mitigation missions on military installations and 276 missions off base.

Today, Army EOD technicians are training and preparing to support ground forces during large-scale combat operations against a near-peer adversary.

U.S. Army EOD Soldiers also routinely support the U.S. Secret Service and Department of State during Very Important Person Protection Support Activity missions by helping to protect the president, first lady, vice president and foreign heads of states.

Previously a critical communications and security facility called The Voice, the Danger Zone provides a unique venue for the EOD techs to hone their lifesaving and mission-enabling skills. The facility also provides advanced marksmanship and combat skills training to keep EOD Soldiers on target.

“These training opportunities enhance our group’s ability to employ technically and tactically proficient Soldiers in support of any combatant commander,” said Barenie.

By Walter T. Ham IV

Poster # 4 – Frangible Ammo for Robotic Ordnance Disposal

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022

This is the fourth installment of a multi-week effort to share examples of posters which were presented during the recent Future Force Capabilities Conference presented by the National Defense Industrial Association in Austin, Texas. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

As always, the contact info is on the poster.

PEO Soldier Evaluates the Next Generation Advanced Bomb Suit

Saturday, July 9th, 2022

SSG Nikolas Brodock, an Explosive Ordinance (sic) Disposal Specialist with 55th EOD CO, conducts a series of tests to evaluate the function of the Next Generation Advanced Bomb Suit (NGABS) during a Soldier Touch Point at Ft. Belvior, VA., June 1, 2022. The NGABS increases Soldier readiness to respond to evolving threats by providing EOD Soldiers with 360° ballistic protection and drastically increasing situational awareness.

Highly Decorated EOD Technician Retires from Elite Unit after Recovering from Paralysis

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — The most highly decorated explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD, technician in the history of an elite U.S. Army airborne EOD company recently retired after recovering from a combat-related gunshot wound that paralyzed him from the chest down.

Sgt. 1st Class Jeffery M. Dawson completed his legendary career with the 28th Ordnance Company (EOD), the Army’s only Special Operations-focused EOD company with handpicked and highly trained EOD Soldiers who support direct action missions around the world.

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 formation.

In an Army EOD community first, 75th Ranger Regiment Commander Col. Jim “JD” Kiersey and Command Sgt. Maj. Curt D. Donaldson attended his ceremony and upgraded Dawson’s status from an “honorary member” to a “distinguished member” of the Ranger Regiment.

Part of U.S. Army Special Operations Command, the 75th Ranger Regiment is the U.S. Army’s premier direct action light infantry force. The regiment can deploy one Ranger Battalion to hotspots around the world within 18 hours of notification.

A seasoned combat veteran who is originally from Coalville, Utah, Dawson deployed to Iraq with the 722nd EOD Company before being selected for the 28th EOD Company. During his six years with the 28th EOD Company, Dawson deployed to Afghanistan seven times.

Dawson said EOD technicians safeguarded forces and enabled operations during the Global War on Terror by confronting and defeating the enemy’s preferred weapon — the improvised explosive device. EOD forces have rendered safe more than 100,000 improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2006 and have trained thousands of host nation forces.

“During the Global War on Terror, IEDs and other complex explosive devices were at an all-time high. Many maneuver elements relied heavily on the skill and competency of EOD technicians. Not just from the Army but all services. Often times, the elements would embed EOD as an organic asset,” said Dawson. “I often overheard many members of the elements we’ve supported say that they would never go outside of the wire without EOD on the manifest. That’s what makes EOD techs so important to the military.”

During his career, Dawson defeated hundreds of explosive devices and earned the Purple Heart for combat injuries twice.

“As an EOD tech, the most memorable missions stand out because they were either really good or really bad,” said Dawson. “Working with special operations forces, you often find yourself in situations where the outcome can sway in either direction in a moment’s notice.”

The missions that stand out the most for Dawson are the one where he earned the nation’s second highest military medal, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the mission that nearly ended his life and left him paralyzed from the chest down.

In Afghanistan on Oct. 5, 2013, Dawson participated in a mission to capture or kill a high value Taliban leader who was planning terror attacks.

“The IED threat was low and it was supposed to be a quick easy target,” Dawson said. “Upon infiltration everything changed in minutes.”

A fleeing insurgent detonated an explosive and killed a team member and the team’s multi-purpose canine, Jani.

Dawson soon realized that his team was surrounded by pressure plate IEDs. He halted the mission, located the improvised explosive devices and aided in the evacuation of dead and wounded Soldiers. Four U.S. Soldiers were killed by explosive devices during the mission.

Although seriously injured during two different explosions, Dawson worked in limited visibility to locate three confirmed pressure plate IEDs and six additional suspected devices. He then cleared a path to evacuate the fallen and wounded Soldiers.

On Feb. 17, 2015, then-Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn presented the Distinguished Service Cross to Dawson during a ceremony on Fort Benning, Georgia. Sgt. Bryan C. Anderson, the Ranger Platoon medic on the same mission, also received the Distinguished Service Cross during the ceremony. The 75th Ranger Regiment submitted them for the award.

On another mission in Afghanistan in July 2019, Dawson was shot and seriously wounded.

“When I was shot, it came in my right arm and came to rest upon impacting and fracturing my left shoulder blade, collapsing both lungs and exposing my spinal cord in the process,” said Dawson. “I’m thankful for the expertise of the medic that performed life-saving treatment which allowed me the opportunity to live despite all odds.”

The medic saved Dawson by using a chest tube to inflate his collapsing lungs.

Dawson was medically evacuated to Germany for surgery and then to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He moved next to James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida, a facility that specializes in spinal injuries.

Working with physical therapists and using the tough and tenacious “never quit” approach that made him successful on the battlefield, Dawson stood again and then he walked again.

Less than a year after being severely wounded, Dawson took on 5K and walked 3.1 miles unassisted. Since then, he has completed a 6.2-mile walk and a triathlon with a quarter-mile swim, 11-mile bike ride and 3.1 mile walk without assistive devices.

“The key to my recovery was mostly mental,” said Dawson. “I lost control of everything from the chest down, with that I lost any physical conditioning prior to my injury. I essentially had to start over as a newborn in a 33-year-old man’s body.

“Since I am still trying to relearn everything, I have to keep a positive mental attitude so I can continue to progress,” said Dawson.

After returning home to North Carolina, Dawson has taken time to focus on healing the visible and invisible scars from multiple combat missions. “I still remain active as much as I can,” said Dawson. “I enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities that get my heart pumping. In the future, I would like to complete a mud run.”

He has enrolled in college and he is looking for opportunities to help other veterans.

Dawson said the highlight of his career was being recognized by the 75th Ranger Regiment for actions on the battlefield.

“I was surrounded by people who wanted to be there,” said Dawson. “It has been an honor working with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Their expertise and professionalism set the standard for others to look up to.

“What makes the 28th a great company is that it is filled with specially selected and well trained Soldiers who will never accept defeat and never fail to complete the mission. Soldiers who have the willingness to shoulder more than their share of the task, whatever it may be, one hundred percent and then some,” said Dawson. “To be successful in the 28th, you need to be in shape, comfortable working autonomously, intelligent, and most importantly, you must be trainable.”

Maj. Stephen M. Knudsen, the commanding officer of the 28th EOD Company, said his company has always relied on the expertise, grit and determination of noncommissioned officers like Dawson to support Special Forces units at the tip of the spear around the world.

“The 28th is a one-of-a-kind formation with forward elements continuously deployed throughout the entirety of its 13-year history,” said Knudsen. “It provides a painfully light and disproportionally lethal airborne EOD capability to the 75th Ranger Regiment and Special Operations Command during crisis response, raid and joint forcible entry operations.”

Knudsen, a 14-year veteran from Sutter Creek, California, has deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan three times. The 28th EOD Company commander said Dawson had never let his heroic deeds and storied service in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal community go to his head.

“The thing that stands out about Sgt. 1st Class Dawson is how approachable and down to earth he is,” said Knudsen. “He’s a legend in the career field, yet he’s such a light hearted, funny and genuine person. If there was anyone who has earned the right to be super arrogant or macho, it’s him, but instead you’re greeted by a humble guy with a warm grin wearing a cat shirt.”

By Walter T. Ham IV

AFIMSC Prioritizes Diversity, Inclusion for EOD Physical Fitness Test

Sunday, January 23rd, 2022


The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center is leading the postpartum health guidance revisions for the upcoming explosive ordnance disposal Airmen-specific physical fitness test policy.

“We’re taking into account the mother’s needs while still keeping to the higher standard for the career field’s physical demands,” said Master Sgt. John Johnson, AFIMSC’s Installation Support EOD Program resource analyst. “We went right to the source and invited six EOD mother-Airmen to participate in a postpartum working group to develop courses of action and recommendations.”

Johnson and his team were given the charge to write the guidance for the career field’s operationally relevant Tier 2 PFT, which unlike the Tier 1 test is more physically demanding and independent of age and gender.

“This test will be more difficult than the standard Air Force test, so we wanted to make sure the policy gives our EOD mother-Airmen the correct amount of time to heal after giving birth,” Johnson said. “We don’t want them to rush back in and get hurt. We’re looking at the longevity of their careers and we’re here to see what we can do to help.”

Women’s health professionals were also present at the working group.

“Women make up 20% of the Air Force, so it’s important to ensure that we have policies in place that support them in their careers, as well as support them in their abilities to plan their families,” said Lt. Col. Larissa Weir, chief women’s health consultant to the Air Force Surgeon General. “Postpartum care for all women in general is evolving. We used to think the postpartum period was the first six weeks after the baby was born and then you go see the doctor to get the blessing that you were good to go. That’s not the case. For the first 12 months, there are continuous changes: hormonal, physiologic, and anatomic, … so postpartum care needs to be more comprehensive.

“Women in EOD have a special mission and more stringent requirements, so in order for the career field to be mission ready, we need to have these discussions and ensure our policies also evolve and are inclusive,” Weir said.

There are currently 37 women in the approximately 1,200 active EOD career field.

“We’re an even smaller group of mothers in EOD, so it’s easy to forget about us,” said Master Sgt. Andrea Rasmussen, EOD equipment section chief, 96th Civil Engineer Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. “I am six months postpartum myself and it’s been a challenge. I have medical issues pertaining to my postpartum and have even gone to the emergency room a few times. All this while trying to take care of myself, take care of my home, take care of my daughter, take care of my work and prepare for a physical fitness test.

“I want to remain fully qualified and continue to be an asset to my team,” Rasmussen said, “so I’m glad we’re here being heard and coming up with courses of action now as this new Tier-2 policy is being written.”

Members of the working group also decided to continue to collaborate and develop additional tools and guidance for postpartum EOD Airmen.

“This meeting made me and my male counterparts in attendance realize how little we know about postpartum care in the EOD community,” Johnson said. “Outside of the policy, one of our go-do’s will be to put together a postpartum playbook and share it on our EOD SharePoint site. It’ll be a compilation of all the information the medical professionals shared with us today and other highlights in our discussion.”

The next steps for Johnson and his team will be to write the courses of action decided by the group, which include a proposed extension to the current Tier 1 postpartum delay, and add recommendations for related care. The draft of the Tier 2 test policy will then be sent to Headquarters Air Force for approval.

“I’m glad we have leadership who is willing to listen and willing to address issues that they may not be familiar with,” Rasmussen said. “That kind of support is paramount for not only women experiencing postpartum but women in general across the Air and Space Forces.”

By Malcolm McClendon, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs

EOD Soldiers Clear More than 1,000 Items from US Air Force Training Range

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Soldiers cleared the way for U.S. Air Force ground attack training by removing more than 1,000 ordnance items from Cannon Range at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

To support A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft bombing and strafing training, EOD Soldiers from the Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri-based 763rd Ordnance Company (EOD) managed an ordnance clearance project across more than 100 acres on the Air Force range.

It was the first range clearance operation the 763rd EOD Company has conducted since 2009.

Managed by the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing on Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, Cannon Range is the only aerial gunnery range in the state of Missouri and the range is used by all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Sgt. 1st Class John S. Neely, a platoon sergeant with the 763rd EOD Company, planned and managed the mission with nine personnel, including seven U.S. Army EOD technicians.

The other 763rd EOD Company members involved in the Air Force range clearance mission were 1st Lt. Frank A. Russell from Orange Grove, Texas; 1st Lt. Raylen L. Dupuis from Polson, Montana; 1st Sgt. Kevin J. Pisani from Lyman, Maine; Sgt. Adam D. Carter from Stafford Springs, Connecticut; Sgt. Robert B. Singleton from Blue Springs, Missouri; Spc. Scott A. Sartin from Kettering, Ohio; and Spc. Logan J. Sterner from Springfield, Illinois.

The EOD Soldiers recovered and cleared more than 1,000 practice 50-pound bombs, said Neely, and they ensured an additional 33 practice 500-pound bombs and 11 practice 40mm projectiles were free of explosive hazards.

“The mission was done to enable target replacement of vehicles and buildings on Cannon Range for A-10 close air support training,” said Neely, a 15-year U.S. Army veteran from Whiteland, Indiana, who has deployed to Afghanistan and Africa.

The 763rd EOD Company is assigned to the 242nd EOD Battalion, 71st EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command.

Part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s premier all hazards formation, Soldiers and civilians from 20th CBRNE Command deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to confront and defeat the world’s most dangerous hazards and threats in support of joint, interagency and allied partners.

Headquartered on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the Active Army’s EOD technicians and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear specialists, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, five Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Teams and three Nuclear Disablement Teams.

In addition to deploying for overseas missions, EOD technicians from the 763rd EOD Company also support explosive mitigation missions for any military munitions found in Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota.

Capt. Tarik B. Jensen, the commander of the 763rd EOD Company, said his EOD Soldiers highlighted their technical and tactical proficiency and expertise during the mission.

“The range clearance conducted by the Soldiers of the 763rd EOD Company enabled the lethality of the U.S. Air Force’s premier ground attack aircraft by keeping the range operational for the nearly daily training missions flown on the range,” said Jensen, a native of Liberty Lake, Washington. “Conducting the clearance imparted ordnance knowledge onto our EOD technicians who researched the various ordnance located on the range, showcasing the technical expertise of EOD technicians.”

By Walter Ham

Air Force Installation Contracting Center Acquisitions Bolster EOD Readiness for FY21, Beyond

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021


EOD robot upgrade The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center is acquiring new base support robots for Explosive Ordnance Disposal flights Department of the Air Force-wide. The new T7 Robotic system replaces the 20-year-old Andros F6A. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Greg Hand)

The success of implementing new explosive ordnance disposal technology in fiscal year 2021 has the Air Force Civil Engineer Center looking forward to FY22.

“Our Airmen conduct high-risk operations in support of the mission, and we ensure they have the tools and resources they need to perform their jobs safely, efficiently and effectively,” said Col. John Tryon, AFCEC Detachment 1 commander. “It’s our duty to identify civil engineering needs and advance Air Force capabilities through research, development, test and evaluation, and we take that very seriously.”

AFCEC’s Readiness Directorate partnered with the Air Force Installation Contracting Center to use more than $41 million for new EOD equipment, such as a new base support robot to clear unexploded ordnance from airfields, during the past year.

In July, the AFICC awarded an $85 million, 10-year, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract for the T7 Robot System to replace the Andros F6A robot, which has been used by the Air Force for two decades. The T7 offers a suite of new and enhanced capabilities, including a more modular design that allows users to repair it by swapping subassemblies rather than individual parts — an issue that plagued the previous robot.

“This system will move robotics forward 20 years,” said Dennis Carson, EOD robot product manager. “It enhances warfighter readiness with its ability to resolve hazardous threats and missions remotely, allowing Airmen freedom of movement at any location.”

AFCEC will begin distributing the first of the T7s in May 2022 — 56 of the 170 inventory objective of T7s were funded at contract award. The remaining requirement will be purchased this fiscal year.

The T7 is the second of two new robotic systems AFCEC is upgrading for the EOD career field. A year ago, the directorate delivered the first of the Man Transportable Robot System Increment II to the 325th Civil Engineer and the 823rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadrons.

To date, the readiness directorate has distributed 129 MTRS IIs and provided system training to 49 EOD flights. The directorate expects to distribute the remaining 202 systems by January 2023.

The second wave of new technology deliveries took place in July when the AFCEC team debuted the Vidisco Guardian 12 Digital Radiographic X-ray system, a $27 million procurement package, at Eglin AFB, Florida, and Hill AFB, Utah.

“This new system is essentially everything old wrapped into a new package with the addition of digital technology enhancements,” said Dave Hodgson, EOD logistics lead for AFCEC. “Compared to the previous analog models, this new system gives Airmen clear and concise images, which reduces the amount of time they have to spend analyzing the images.” 

To date, the AFCEC team has distributed 36 X-ray systems, with the remaining 15 base support systems to be distributed in 2022 and mobility configurations through 2026.

Just as FY21 came to a close, AFICC awarded a $24 million contract for the Large Clearance Blade Assembly, or L-CBA. Attached to armored front-end loaders, the equipment is used for rapid clearance of unexploded ordnance from airfield surfaces after an attack.

Because it’s mounted to an armored front-end loader, the paired capability will dramatically reduce clearance times, Hodgson said.

AFCEC plans to begin blade deliveries to bases in the European and Pacific theaters and some training sites in mid-October. Full fielding will run through 2026. The contract enables the Air Force to obtain more than 70 large blades needed to support the Rapid Mass Mechanical Clearance program over the next several years.

The directorate also executed a Life Cycle Sustainment order for bomb suits. The suits are designed to protect EOD personnel responding to scenarios with potential explosives. The $2.2 million annual acquisition provides 76 suits to replace one-seventh of the current inventory.

“When EOD technicians have to make that long walk down range to manually perform procedures, this suit — the EOD 10E — provides the best possible protection if an explosion occurs,” Hodgson said.

Rounding out FY21 EOD funding executions, AFCEC’s EOD modernization program is seeing its work pay off as the Air Force prepares to take the next steps in bringing the Recovery of Airbases Denied By Ordnance, or RADBO, system to the Air Force EOD suite of tools.

EOD robot upgrade The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center recently contracted for the delivery of new explosive ordnance disposal base support robots for the Department of the Air Force enterprise. This chart shows a comparison of the 20-year-old Andros F6A to the new T7 Robot System. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Greg Hand)

AFCEC funded a $3.9 million effort in FY21 to convert the state-of-the-art ground-based laser prototypes to the final production configuration. The system will be delivered to Nellis AFB, Nevada, in December to support career field training as well as tactics, techniques and procedures incorporating the RADBO system, L-CBA, the prototype design completion on the Small Clearance Blade Assembly and an unmanned system application for Rapid Explosive Hazard Mitigation and Rapid Airfield Damage Repair vehicles.

By David Ford, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs

Grey Ops Silent Spring Liquid Safing Fluid

Monday, October 25th, 2021

Grey Ops‘ Silent Spring was created and developed at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) in Indian Head, MD as a liquid means to neutralize Improvised Explosive Devices for safe transport while preserving forensic evidence.

Silent Spring is available for unit and agency orders from ADS, Inc.