By Walter T. Ham IV, 20th CBRNE Command Public AffairsMarch 30, 2015
FORT CARSON, Colorado -- U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units from the Fort Carson, Colorado-based 71st EOD Group were recognized for their combat service in Afghanistan.
The 242nd EOD Battalion, 761st EOD Company and 663rd EOD Company received the Valorous Unit Award during a ceremony on Fort Carson March 26.
The Fort Campbell, Kentucky-based 52nd EOD Group's 705th EOD Company and 760th EOD Company also received the Valorous Unit Award, along with the 65th EOD Company from Alaska and the U.S. Air Force's 466th EOD Flight.
The 71st EOD Group and 52nd EOD Group are part of the 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives), the U.S. military's only multifunctional command that combats global CBRNE threats.
During its 12-month deployment, the 242nd EOD Battalion combatted the enemy's weapon of choice, the improvised explosive device or IED.
The battalion defeated more than 300 IEDs, exploited 127 weapons caches and destroyed more than 300,000 pounds of enemy munitions and explosives.
The 242nd EOD Battalion headquarters commanded 16 U.S. Army EOD Companies, four U.S. Air Force EOD Flights, one U.S. Navy EOD Platoon, one Slovakian EOD team and three Afghan units.
Covering response management for 81 EOD teams, the battalion supported Regional Command South, Southwest, West, East, North and Capital. According to the award citation, the 242nd EOD Battalion overcame rough terrain and sparse infrastructure to cover 210,000 square kilometers of Afghanistan.
"The significance of the Valorous Unit Award cannot be overlooked as it is awarded to units for the same level of gallantry and heroism as the Silver Star is for individuals," said 71st EOD Group Command Sgt. Maj. Derryl D. Valk, who served as the 242nd EOD Battalion command sergeant major during part of the deployment.
"The color pattern of the streamer, similar to that of the Silver Star Medal, attached to the organization colors and guidons, will forever show the level of courage and commitment of all members of the 242nd EOD Battalion, five Army EOD companies and one Air Force Flight," said Valk, who is originally from Coalinga, California.
U.S. Army EOD technicians from 20th CBRNE Command have defeated more than 50,000 IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan since the command was activated 10 years ago.
Brig. Gen. JB Burton, the commanding general of the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-based 20th CBRNE Command, said the unit awards were a testament to the professionalism of 20th CBRNE EOD technicians.
"From combat operations to domestic Defense Support to Civil Authorities missions, our EOD techs save lives, protect property and defend liberty, anytime and anywhere," said Burton, a native of Tullahoma, Tennessee.