By Walter T. Ham IV, Eighth Army Public AffairsJune 12, 2013
JEONUI, South Korea (June 12, 2013) -- American and South Korean Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians conducted a combined counter Improvised Explosive Device demonstration at the Republic of Korea Army Ammunition Support Command Headquarters here, June 11.
Sgt. Maj. Dean L. Smith, the U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Control Team sergeant major in Korea, said the event highlighted the important role Explosive Ordnance Disposal, known as EOD, troops play in countering improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.
"The purpose was to display capabilities and show the destructive power of IEDs," said Smith, a native of Gainesville, Ga. "The event also provided an opportunity for our ROK (Republic of Korea) partners to showcase a laser that can disrupt ordnance from a stand off. It was very impressive."
Smith said the event featured demonstrations of a pressure cooker IED, a buried IED strike on a vehicle, and an explosive vest.
The improvised explosive device is the weapon of choice for many of America's adversaries. IEDs have been used extensively during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Smith said the EOD career field has taken a "180 degree turn" since 2003. The EOD sergeant major said prior to combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, "EOD was focused heavily on conventional ordnance -- rockets, bombs, grenades, etc."
"The current fight is IED centric. So our training focus has shifted to counter the IED threat," said Smith. "This is a great testament to the flexibility of our EOD Soldiers adapting to fluid situations. No two missions are the same."
To prepare for this threat that can imperil lives and impede missions, Smith said EOD Soldiers practice locating and destroying a wide variety of IEDs.
Smith said the 718th Ordnance Company (EOD) has trained with various ROK EOD units and plans to expand their training.
A 21-year U.S. Army veteran with four combat deployments, Smith said the ultimate goal of the event was to share allied expertise in confronting IEDs.
"By having a good working knowledge of our ROK counterpart's capabilities, it will make us a more effective team," said Smith. "Each side has much to offer."
"EOD Soldiers, regardless of where they come from, are professionals and take their job seriously," said Smith. "Our ability to solve complex problems in the safest manner is what makes us standout.
"I see this in our ROK partners and hope to learn a lot from them in the future," said Smith.