|Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)|
|Branch||United States Navy|
|Type||Naval Bomb Disposal Expeditionary Special Operations|
|Role||Bomb disposal, CBRN defense|
Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, Supports
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, Air Force 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.
Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams trace their history back to the first group of volunteers selected to work with the famed British 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 Korean War 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 Inchon, Wonson and throughout the United Nations Theater of operations.
The Vietnam War saw an increase in overall participation by EOD units. Units from EOD Group Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii deployed throughout the region. EODGRUPAC was composed of Mobile Unit, Shipboard Unit and Training and Evaluation Unit personnel. Deployed teams onboard ships at sea were composed of one officer and two enlisted men. Teams in-country were larger and were based from the Mekong Delta (RIVFLOT 1) to DaNang. 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 War, the changing world situation and increased operational tasking have prompted the expansion of EOD units in number, size and capabilities. Their 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 USS Stark (FFG-31) after two Exocet anti-ship missiles fired from an Iraqi aircraft hit her. EOD developed render safe procedures on-site to prevent a catastrophe. During joint operations in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, 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.
The EOD training pipeline starts with three weeks of preparatory training at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois. 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 nine weeks of dive school held at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center (NDSTC) in Panama City, Florida. Besides learning how to dive, 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 Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. This training is broken down into specific types of ordnance:
Every section teaches how to render-safe or defuse ordnance.
Upon completion of basic EOD training, all graduates will attend the three-week Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia where candidates qualify as a basic parachutist.
After Jump School, training continues at Gulfport, Mississippi, for an additional four weeks, consisting of weapons training in the use of the 9mm handgun and the M-4 carbine as well as combat first aid.
The final phase of EOD training is three weeks of EOD Tactical Training at the Naval Amphibious Base in San Diego. 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, SOF Companies, and Marine Mammal Companies.
Officer training for the EOD career field (119x / 114x) differs slightly. Their pipeline is as follows:
Advanced training opportunities include foreign language, Advanced Improvised Explosive Device Disposal, and Department of Energy training.
EOD employs a variety of tools, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to accomplish the mission. Robots are used to perform remote procedures on unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices. Efforts to maintain the latest technology are accomplished with the assistance and the DoE and various civilian organizations. Johns Hopkins University maintains the Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System (AEODRS) program. The primary goal of AEODRS is to develop a common architecture for a family of unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) systems to enable unprecedented levels of interoperability. AEODRS is a Joint Service Explosive Ordnance Disposal (JSEOD) program, executed through the Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NAVEODTECHDIV) via the Navy Program Management Office for Explosive Ordnance Disposal/Counter Remote Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare (PMS-408).
Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California
Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Navy.