By Staff Sgt. Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD)September 14, 2017
FORT A.P. HILL, Va. - Six two-man explosive ordnance disposal teams will compete for top honors in the fifth annual Department of the Army level explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) Team of the Year competition, Sept. 11-15 at various locations on the installation.
The competition officially began Sunday with an opening ceremony, hosted by Brig. Gen. David Wilson, the 40th Chief of Ordnance.
"EOD is more than blowing things up," said Wilson. "This competition brings us together to look at all 19 tasks to see how we are doing, see what we need to refine, and sharpen our accuracies; then move out."
A new initiative of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, called the U.S. Army Ordnance Crucible, will combine the results of this EOD team of the year competition with two other competitions that were held at Fort Pickett. Those competitions were on ammunition transfer holding points (ATHP) and combat repair teams (CRT).
The three unique competitions will provide an opportunity for senior leaders to assess ammunition, maintenance and EOD professionals across the institutional Army, operational force and individual leader development domains.
"This competition allows us to assess how we are doing in the institutional Army, training our professionals and seeing how the units in the field continue to build upon the training that's gained in the institutional Army in a decisive-action, competitive training environment," said Wilson.
"This competition offers a first-hand view on the readiness of the EOD community across the force," said Maj. Joseph Cullingford, the executive officer for 73rd Ordnance Battalion and action officer for the competition.
Competing teams were chosen by their respective units based on their individual and collective abilities to perform under physically and mentally demanding challenges in decisive-action environments, which had been evaluated in similar yet smaller competitions.
According to Cullingford, teams competing in the event will be evaluated on the tactical and technical skills expected of a "world-class EOD team", as well as provide instructors with feedback on the assessed tasks.
"The environment [Ordnance Corps] has set up here provides a platform to solicit invaluable feedback necessary to shape and refine EOD doctrine and training to enable the readiness for the Army of 2030 and beyond," said Cullingford.
Wilson said he intends to use this feedback to prepare upcoming training strategies for the Ordnance Corps. He added that collection after action reviews and lessons learned from the various training and deployments provides him with "real insight" in the placement of priorities of effort when creating a training strategy.
Wilson said obtaining this type of information is what "makes us better".
"Good, Better, Best, never let it rest, till your good is better and your better is best," said Wilson. "We should always want to make things better than the way we found them," he added.
By the week's end, the best EOD team will be identified during a closing ceremony, to be held Friday.