EOD Soldier breaks world record
September 24, 2013
HONOLULU -- At 3:45 a.m., Sept. 23, EOD Soldiers from across the 303rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade gathered in a parking lot at Schofield Barracks and awaited a bus to transport them to Ching Field at the University of Hawaii - Manoa Campus to witness history.
Soldiers boarded the bus, found seats and nestled in for naps during the hour-long ride while others engaged in conversations, "eighty pounds is 80 pounds, after a while it starts wearing on the body, the weight starts pulling you down. The heat the body is putting off is just staying inside [the bomb suit] and there's no where the heat can get out, it just gets hotter and hotter," said Staff Sgt. Dean Kaialau, team leader, 74th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 303rd EOD Bn., 8th MP Bde. "Running one mile consistently in a bomb suit, that's pretty rough… It's not just about the physical endurance it's also about the mental endurance of taking that kind of punishment to the body."
Perhaps only an EOD Soldier can truly understand what 1st Lt. Ashley Sorensen, operations officer, 706th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 303rd EOD Bn., was about to go through in attempting to break the world record for a one-mile run in a bomb suit (female) and perhaps that is the reason why the bus was packed full of Soldiers as it rolled along the highway at "o-dark-thirty" on Monday morning.
Sorensen, a native of Milwaukee, didn't disappoint the bus full of Soldiers because she rolled along too, for four grueling laps on a track at Ching Field, University of Hawaii - Manoa Campus.
The 25-year-old Sorensen was steady, gritty and tough as she maintained a pace of about two minutes and 45 seconds per lap and shattered the previous world record of 13 minutes 47 seconds when she crossed the finish line at 11 minutes 6 seconds.
Video and photographic evidence was meticulously gathered, as well as sworn statements to be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records and pending their results and findings Sorensen's name can then be entered in as the official record holder of the one-mile run in a bomb suit (female.)
It will take four to six weeks to get an official ruling from the Guinness Book of World Records, but that didn't stop EOD Soldiers, Sorensen and her supporters from celebrating time now.
"We're extremely proud of Lt. Sorensen and her accomplishments; it really sheds light on the capabilities of women in the Army and the capabilities of EOD. We are especially glad to be able to share this event with the University of Hawaii and their ROTC department and we're thankful for all the help they gave us in making this happen," said Lt. Col. Mark R. Faria, commander, 303rd EOD Bn., 8th MP Bde.
From the stands a Sorensen supporter was inspired by what she witnessed.
"She [Sorensen] is opening the door for a lot of people, she stands up when people out there say 'you can't do it' and she's showing them that yes, she can do it. It makes her a role model for female Soldiers and for all Soldiers," said Spc. Estella Clark, administrative clerk, 74th EOD Co., 303rd EOD Bn., 8th MP Bde.
After giving numerous interviews on camera and off, Sorensen, a graduate of West Point, reflected on her accomplishment.
"That was probably the hardest thing I have ever done. I think as an athlete you have to be able to deal with pressure, and it felt like there was a little bit of extra weight on me out there; with all the people watching and the cameras everywhere," said Sorensen.
She concluded, "as long as you put your mind to something, and if you really try and if you really want it enough, you'll figure out a way to do it."