Fort Stewart's real 'Hurt Locker' Soldiers get new facilities
March 12, 2010
<b> FORT STEWART, Ga. </b> - Most movie fans are probably aware the film, "The Hurt Locker," took home six Oscars, March 7, including Best Picture. The film follows the members of a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team serving in Iraq. Fewer people are aware that Fort Stewart has four EOD detachments or that these "Hurt Locker" units are now moving from three older buildings off Gulick Avenue and 18th Street and consolidating at one new facility on GA-144.
According to Master Sgt. Aaron McHaney, the 38th EOD, currently attached to the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, is serving in Iraq, and 731st EOD will soon deploy with 4th IBCT to Iraq. The 756th EOD and 766th EOD are not currently attached to any other unit. They and the 731st are busy moving all four detachments from their old locations to one new facility, buildings 8004 and 8005, located on GA-144 near the horse stables.
A lot of people have probably driven by this new, fenced-in facility and wondered what unit it belonged to and why it required the extra security. Master Sergeant McHaney said the new facility will not only house all four EOD detachments but provide space for training and storage for explosive materials used for training. He said their moving priorities up to now have been administrative files and equipment as well as moving the 38th EOD's files and equipment for them, since they're deployed.
An Explosive Ordnance Specialist, military occupational specialty 89D, has the job of finding, identifying, rendering safe and disposing of ordnances, whether they be foreign or domestic, conventional, chemical or nuclear - even improvised explosive devices. Master Sergeant McHaney said the advanced individual training for an 89D currently takes place at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., training that takes more than nine months, He added though that with the Army's new Centers of Excellence plan, training for 89Ds may soon be moved to Fort Lee, Va.
An Army EOD team consists of two or three members, usually led by a staff sergeant or senior, EOD-qualified sergeant, Master Sgt. McHaney said. He added that an EOD team's rank structure depends heavily on both experience and training. He also said the Army is currently moving toward modularization of EOD units. In its current unit configuration, an EOD detachment consists of only 27 people, including the commander and first sergeant, Master Sgt. McHaney explained. Under the new modularization plan, an EOD detachment would consists of 44 men, including the commander, first sergeant and three platoon leaders. The goal, he said, is to have one EOD for every brigade combat team.
Master Sergeant McHaney said Fort Stewart's EODs were holding off plans to officially open their new facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony until a special request to dedicate a name for the facility is approved. He said they would like to dedicate the new building to one of their own, a Soldier who died in the line of duty during "intrinsic action" in Kuwait. Look for a follow-up story on Fort Stewart's real "Hurt Locker" Soldiers when the new building is dedicated.