Army EOD troops participate in interagency exercise
July 3, 2014
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (July 3, 2014) -- Soldiers from the 55th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company participated in Ravens Challenge, an inter-agency exercise hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to Capt. David Watkins, commander of the 55th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, an EOD team from his company tackled numerous complex scenarios around the national capital region during the exercise.
"The focus of the training is to foster a partnership with and gain an understanding of the emergency response agencies in our region," said Watkins, an Atlanta native and Afghanistan veteran.
Together with U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and National Guard troops, personnel from the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, U.S. Capitol Police, Washington Police, Baltimore County Bomb Squad and other emergency responders participated in the exercise.
Watkins said Ravens Challenge was designed to improve the interoperability of inter-agency emergency response units.
"Each of these organizations has different jurisdictions, capabilities and equipment that must be de-conflicted," said Watkins. "These differences are what drive the need for exercises such as Ravens Challenge."
"U.S. Army EOD forces have been supporting civil authorities since our inception, in 1941," said Watkins. "However, today's challenges are far more complex than ever and in order to provide the right response in the right place at the right time requires a tremendous amount of well-developed coordination."
Watkins said Ravens Challenge not only included training sites in the District of Columbia area but also in Seattle, Phoenix and Huntsville, Alabama.
Part of the 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives), the 55th EOD Company provides explosive ordnance disposal support to the national capital region and the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland.
With specialized units on 19 military posts in 16 states, the 20th CBRNE Command is the U.S. Army's only formation tasked with combating Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive threats.