By Capt. Garrett C. Baker, Assistant S2 (Intelligence) and unit public affair representative, 52nd Ordnance Group (Explosives Ordnance Disposal)October 24, 2018
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Eleven awards were presented Thursday, Oct. 11 at a ceremony honoring members of the 28th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Six members of the 28th EOD Company, a subordinate unit of the 192nd Ordnance Battalion (EOD), received the awards including a Bronze Star with Valor device, two Joint Service Commendation Medals with valor device, a Purple Heart for wounds received in combat, and one Joint Service Commendation Medal awarded for actions during combat.
The 28th is a unique fixture of the 192d Ord. Bn., a subordinate unit of the 52d Ord. Group (EOD) based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The 28th supports the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The 28th deploys more frequently than any other EOD Company due to the higher operational tempo incurred from supporting the Special Operations Command.
Col. Daniel Duncan, commander of the 52d Ord. Group (EOD), remarked that the 28th has "...been charged not only to be the best, but to compete with the best, and to win."
Duncan congratulated the Soldiers, who included Capt. Daniel J. Young, Sgt. 1st Class Chad O. Staples, Sgt. 1st Class John Viasaggio, Staff Sgt. Michael G. Schofield, Staff Sgt. Joseph M. Peery, and Staff Sgt. Devon J. Hawes.
First to be recognized was Young, from Bloomington, Indiana. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his role in a deployment from December 2017 to May 2018 and a Joint Service Commendation Medal with Combat Device for a deployment to Afghanistan from March to August 2016.
Second was Staples, a native of Riverton, Utah. He was awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor Device for his help during a special operations raid in September 2016 in which Staples engaged two enemy combatants maneuvering to a potentially more dangerous position. He also received the Bronze Star for deployments from January to May 2017 and from December 2017 to May 2018.
Third was Viasaggio, a native of Jacksonville, Florida. He was awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor Device for disarming a bomb that was in the process of counting down and preventing any casualties it might have caused during an August 2017 mission. He had already received a Purple Heart for injuries he received while disarming that bomb late last year.
Official records state that Viasaggio shouted at members of his team to leave the area after discovering the device was set to detonate. He then pulled the initiator, throwing the explosive before full detonation.
Next was Schofield, who calls Detroit home. He was awarded a Bronze Star in recognition of a January to May 2017 deployment. Then a Joint Service Achievement Medal for his help in building a tactical operations center, demolitions training complex, and an explosives storage facility.
Second to last was Peery, a native of Charlottesville, Virginia. He received two Bronze Stars, one with Valor Device, and a Purple Heart. The Bronze Star with Valor was earned during a December 2016 mission where Peery assisted Afghan special operations troops with an assault. The other Bronze Star was for his efforts during deployments that spanned May to July 2017 and December 2017 to June 2018.
The Purple Heart recognized wounds he received during a December 2017 mission where Peery was shot in the left hand and received shrapnel to his right hip and thigh.
The last set of awards went to Hawes, a native of Claremont, Illinois. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his efforts on deployments from January to May 2017 and December 2017 to March 2018.
The 28th EOD Company is one of only three EOD companies in the Army that are on active Airborne status. All three are located at Fort Bragg.