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Practice makes perfect for EOD

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One mistake could mean your life and possibly the lives of other Marines.

As if walking up and attempting to defuse a device designed to explode and intended to destroy anything within a specific range is not stressful enough, add on the fact that the device could be set off by a watching enemy, a time delay or your actions. Explosive ordinance disposal technicians face this scenario and many like it on a regular basis. It is no wonder EOD Marines train rigorously, because in a line of work such as EOD, one mistake means the end – there are no second chances. “The enemy is always adapting to what we do, therefore we have to adapt to him,” said Sgt. Andrew Delfino, a Marine Corps Air Station EOD technician. Facing an enemy whose tactics, techniques and procedures are continuingly changing is another reason EOD needs to constantly update their training regimen. “Our field covers such a wide scope of tasks that you can’t focus on one thing,” said GySgt. Shaun Donahue, the staff noncommissioned officer in charge of EOD. “You need to train for every mission.” The challenge of engaging an enemy whose battle tactics never get stagnant, or the idea of risking your life daily may be too much for most, but is actually what entices some Marines to enter the EOD technician’s field. “What drew me to EOD was the excitement of it, because you never know what your going to get into from day-to-day,” said Sgt. Caleb Ingram, a former airframes mechanic with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 31 who is currently an explosive ordnance technician with EOD until he attends the military occupational school for EOD technicians located at the Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. While excitement and the ability to make a difference can motivate many Marines to enter the dangerous world of EOD, some Marines have a more specific, personal passion for what they do. “I lost a lot of friends to improvised explosive devices,” said Delfino. “I wanted to get out there and try to alleviate other people from being injured and killed by explosives in general.” Marines with EOD not only prepare for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan but also are on call for local situations involving explosives. “We provide assistance and technical support to local law enforcement and government agencies,” said Delfino. Local support is needed for anything from military ordinance to pipe bombs and bomb threats. Also, EOD is available to provide training on how to react to a possible explosive situation for other units in the Tri-Command area. “We will facilitate classes for any unit that wants specific IED training, as far as, identification and reporting procedures,” said Delfino. As it is important for anyone to understand how to identify a possible explosive and how to contact, inform and request for EOD to handle the situation, it is especially pertinent for Marines preparing to deploy because many explosives are disguised or hidden well in the battlefield.