Navy takes over counter-IED task force in Afghanistan
Navy Explosive Ordnance Group Two took over Combined Joint Task Force Paladin during a ceremony, June 22.
Navy EOD Group Two out of Little Creek, Va., assumed leadership of the task force from the Army’s 71st Ordnance Group out of Fort Carson, Colo.
CJTF Paladin is responsible for theatre-wide counter-improvised explosive device operations, training, evidence collection and analysis.
“It’s truly you guys who step out there and take the risk,” said Brig. Gen. Ricky D. Gibbs, the Deputy Commanding General or V Corps, speaking to the EOD technicians during the ceremony. “Your efforts saved an untold number of lives and brought to justice those who perpetrated violence in Afghanistan.”
In taking leadership of CJTF Paladin, Group Two takes over a task force comprised of EOD units from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps as well as analysis and support assets from all four services, coalition countries, government civilians and contractors.
Over the 11 months since the 71st EOD took over the task force, CJTF Paladin was responsible for the removal of 16,572 IEDs and weapons caches and conducted numerous post-blast analyses in support of route clearance patrols. Paladin’s training also increased the number of Afghan National Security Forces IED Defeat and EOD teams validated for independent operation from 15 to 55, mentored 252 Afghan EOD candidates, and trained thousands of U.S. and coalition forces.
Additionally, in the past 11 months, the forensic work completed by CJTF Paladin’s Theatre Explosives Exploitation Cell resulted in the conviction of 86 IED perpetrators.
“I know [Mobile Group 2] will continue the good work we’ve done and take Paladin to even higher levels of excellence,” said Col. Leo E. Bradley, the 71st commanding officer.
“We are no longer EOD Group Two,” said Navy Capt. Timothy P. Rudderow, Group Two commander. “All the [Paladin] service members and civilians will come together in unity.”
Group Two is at the beginning of what will be a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.
Article by Lt.j.g. Andrew Carleen, Combined Joint Task Force Paladin