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United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians render safe all types of ordnance, including improvised, chemical, biological, and nuclear. They perform land and underwater location, identification, render-safe, and recovery (or disposal) of foreign and domestic ordnance. They conduct demolition of hazardous munitions, pyrotechnics, and retrograde explosives using detonation and burning techniques. They forward deploy and fully integrate with the various Combatant Commanders, Special Operations Forces (SOF), and various warfare units within the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army. They are also called upon to support military and civilian law enforcement agencies, as well as the Secret Service.

EOD Technicians’ missions take them to all environments, and every climate, in every part of the world. They have many assets available to arrive to their mission, from open- and closed-circuit scuba and surface supplied diving rigs, to parachute insertion from fixed-wing aircraft and fast-rope, abseil, and Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction (SPIE) from rotary aircraft, to small boats and tracked vehicles.

History

Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams trace their history back to the first group of volunteers selected to work with the famed Britishmarker UXO teams, following the initial German Blitzkrieg attacks in early 1940. In June 1941, these veterans returned to form the first class in what was originally named the Mine Recovery School. Officers and enlisted personnel entered the eleven-week school, qualifying as Mine Recovery Personnel/Second Class Divers. Between June 1941 and October 1945, nineteen classes graduated and deployed throughout the Pacific and Mediterranean theaters. Divided into Mobile Explosive Investigative Units (MEIU) they were instrumental in the clearance of explosive hazards both on land and at sea. The conflict in Korea saw a return to action on various minesweepers ensuring the continual clearance of shipping hazards. Additionally, the now renamed Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Units took part in inland intelligence operations and interacted with ground-based units in Inchonmarker, Wonson and throughout the United Nations Theater of operations.

Vietnam saw an increase in overall participation by EOD units. Units from EOD Mobile Unit ONE, Pearl Harbormarker, Hawaiimarker deployed throughout the region. With an overall emphasis in sea and riverine mine clearance operations, these teams ensured the continued safety for shipping and maritime operations.

Since the close of the Vietnam conflict, the ever-changing world situation and increased operational tasking have prompted the expansion of EOD units in number, size and capabilities. Their impressive record in recent history includes the Gulf War where EOD Technicians cleared in excess of 500 naval mines. EOD was the critical element in eliminating unexploded ordnance from the after two Exocet anti-ship missiles fired from an Iraqimarker aircraft hit her. EOD developed render safe procedures on-site to prevent a catastrophe. During joint operations in Somaliamarker, Haitimarker, Bosniamarker, and Kosovomarker, EOD provided safety and operational continuity by eliminating booby traps, weapons caches, and performing mine clearance operations. EOD units are presently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq where they are supporting the global war against terrorism, destroying tons of post war ordnance and reducing the threat imposed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) that have plagued both countries. Forward deployed and fully integrated within the various Special Operations units within the U.S. Navy and Army, the present day EOD technician has changed greatly from that first Mine Recovery class of 1941. But one thing that has never changed is the level of professionalism and dedication that has been the cornerstone of the program.

Training

EOD training pipeline
The EOD training pipeline starts with 3 weeks of preparatory training at Naval Station Great Lakesmarker, Illinoismarker. The candidate will work on swim stroke development, long range swims and physical conditioning. EOD candidates will then attend an additional 51 weeks of rigorous training. Their training starts with 9 weeks of dive school held at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Centermarker (NDSTC) in Panama City, Floridamarker. Besides learning how to dive, these candidates learn about the various kinds of equipment and dive physics. After successful completion of dive school, candidates transfer to Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal School at Eglin Air Force Basemarker in Fort Walton Beachmarker, Floridamarker. This training is broken down into specific types of ordnance:

AIR ORDNANCE DIVISIONFocuses on bombs and missiles

IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICEIncludes “homemade bombs”

NUCLEAR ORDNANCE DIVISIONCovers basic nuclear physics and radiation monitoring and decontamination procedures

UNDERWATER ORDNANCE DIVISIONEmphasizes torpedoes and other underwater explosives as well as underwater search techniques

Every section teaches how to render-safe or defuse ordnance.

Upon completion of basic EOD training, graduates will attend the 3 week-long Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benningmarker, Georgia where candidates qualify as a basic parachutist.

The final phase of EOD training is 3 weeks of EOD Tactical Training at the Naval Amphibious Basemarker in San Diego, Californiamarker. This will consist of helicopter insertion (fast-rope, rappel, cast and SPIE), small arms/weapons training, small unit tactics (weapons, self-defense, land navigation, and patrolling), and tactical communications (satellite and high frequency). Upon completion of the EOD training, graduates are assigned to EOD Mobile Units where they gain advanced on-the-job training and experience as members of Combat Expeditionary Support (CES) platoons/companies, Carrier and Expeditionary Strike Group platoons, Naval Special Warfare and SOF Companies, and Marine Mammal Companies.

Advanced training opportunities include foreign language, Advanced Improvised Explosive Device Disposal, Department of Energy training, instructor, and much more.

Units

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Group One, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California
  • EOD Mobile Unit One, Naval Amphibious Base Coronadomarker, California
  • EOD Mobile Unit Three, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California
  • EOD Mobile Unit Five, Naval Base Guam
  • EOD Mobile Unit Eleven, Naval Air Station Whidbey Islandmarker, Washington
  • EOD Training and Evaluation Unit (TEU) One Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California
  • Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, Pearl Harbormarker, Hawaii
  • EOD Operational Support Unit Seven, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California


Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Group Two, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia
  • EOD Mobile Unit Two, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creekmarker, Virginia
  • EOD Mobile Unit Six, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia
  • EOD Mobile Unit Eight, Naval Air Station Sigonellamarker, Italy
  • EOD Mobile Unit Twelve, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia
  • EOD Training and Evaluation Unit (TEU) Two, Fort Storymarker, Virginia
  • Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) Two, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia
  • EOD Operational Support Unit Ten, Fort Story, Virginia
  • EOD Expeditionary Support Unit Two, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia


References



Further Reading

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