USS KEARSARGE, Arabian Gulf -- Explosive ordnance disposal technicians with Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted an EOD exploration exercise aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) on Dec. 12, 2015.
The military occupational specialty is limited to those ranked sergeant and above, so technicians have to lateral transfer from other specialties. The MOS conducts demonstrations of their equipment and responsibilities to recruit the most qualified applicants and help Marines understand the occupation.
EOD technicians are trained to handle hazardous materials and to disarm explosives. They may find themselves responsible for the demolition or disarming of live or expired munitions during a mission or stored at a military installation.
“The exploration event affords Marines an opportunity to see the daily tasks and routine procedures of an EOD tech,” said Sgt. Peter A. Lawson, an EOD technician with CLB-26. “It’s a valuable experience with hands-on practical application of our equipment to give them a better idea of what [the military occupational specialty] is like.”
The technicians brought an EOD 9 advanced bomb suit, a laptop housing an ordnance database and a hook and line kit. They demonstrated the proper use and application of the different pieces of equipment and allowed Marines to utilize each one in a series of tasks designed to introduce basic EOD concepts.
“We show them our commonly used tools and explain methods of use in the field during different operations,” said Lawson.
Participants were challenged with completing tasks meant to mirror real-world scenarios involving the equipment after technicians demonstrated their different uses and versatility.
The exploration event was divided into three stations.
The first station involved wearing the bomb suit and performing basic physical training exercises.
“It was pretty difficult doing exercises in the suit,” said Cpl. Devon J. Hornbeck, the CLB-26 warehouse chief. “You have a limited range of mobility and it inhibits your breathing because the suit blocks most outside air.”
The second station featured x-ray equipment that technicians use to uncover sealed or hidden munitions.
“They showed us how they use the x-ray equipment to determine what’s inside a sealed container and how to figure out the proper method of disposal,” said Hornbeck.
An EOD hook and line kit was the focus of the last station. Participants were given an overview of the different parts of the kit and tasked with using it to maneuver an inert 82mm mortar shell replica.
“It was difficult because we weren’t entirely familiar with all the parts, so we failed our first attempt,” said Hornbeck. “They showed us how simplifying the problem and with a little more familiarization that the problem could be solved in a number of ways.”
Hornbeck’s group was able to maneuver the mortar shell on their second attempt with guidance from Lawson.
Each section of the event presented new information and insight into the EOD technician field.
“We challenge them to get creative and figure out different ways that work to solve the same problem,” said Lawson. “The best parts of the training are the questions the Marines ask because they’re interested in EOD, and the variety of ways we get to see a problem solved because everyone looks at the challenge differently.”
Each participant approached the tasks differently based on their individual specialties and any previous experience with EOD. The demonstration enabled the Marines to gain a greater understanding of EOD equipment and tasks.
“It was a good and fun experience,” said Hornbeck. “It showed us how the job requires you to think outside the box and that there are creative ways to utilize equipment to complete different tasks.”
The event is the first of many that are scheduled. The EOD technicians want to conduct the events monthly.
“Throughout the different events we want to introduce a variety of tools and different tasks,” said Lawson. “We are a small community and we want to catch the attention of those who have an interest, and this is an excellent way to do that.”