JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCHORD, Washington – A U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician completed the FBI National Improvised Explosive Familiarization course.
Pfc. Conor L. Neely from the 707th Ordnance Company (EOD) participated in the course July 12 – 15 at the Fire Training Academy of Washington.
Approximately 50 military and civilian bomb squad professionals took part in the course that covered the science of how improvised explosive devices are made.
Neely said the course helped him to better understand and identify potential hazards in a clandestine laboratory.
“The highlight of the course personally was being able to make several of the more stable explosives that we learned about,” said Neely. “I enjoyed being able to do that because it taught how simple and easy to access some of the precursors to these explosives are to source, which gives EOD technicians and law enforcement officers a better idea of what to look for in order to identify hazards and gather information.”
A native of Puyallup, Washington, Neely has been in the U.S. Army for almost two years.
“I chose to join as an EOD technician because I had heard it was a pretty challenging pipeline and that I would be able to support units such as Special Forces and Rangers, as well as opening up opportunities outside of the military,” said Neely.
Capt. Willliam R. Hartman, the commander of the 707th EOD Company, said Neely will share his knowledge with the rest of the company.
“Pfc. Neely was selected in order to bolster his knowledge and technical expertise,” said Hartman, a Reading, Pennsylvania, native who has deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of operations. “He has shown an ability to learn quickly and adapt to different training exercises and environments, making him a great candidate to represent our organization.”
The FBI training course will benefit his Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington-based company not just on deployments but also in response to military munitions found both on and off base.
Working with the 787th EOD Company, which is also stationed on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the 707th EOD Company covers 75 counties across Washington, Oregon and northern California for domestic explosive response missions.
“This is crucial training for EOD techs at every level,” said Hartman. “Not only does integration with local law enforcement benefit daily operations but increasing technical knowledge on improvised explosives before deployment is always beneficial.”
EOD Soldiers regularly train with joint, interagency and allied partners to hone their life-saving and mission-enabling skills. Hartman said his EOD technicians have taken the FBI Post-Blast Investigator course and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Homemade Explosives Course. They have also trained with the Tacoma Police Department.
The 707th EOD Company is part of the 3rd EOD Battalion, 71st EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command. Based on 19 installations in 16 states, 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the Army’s EOD and CBRN units.
Soldiers from the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-headquartered command deploy around the world to take on the world’s most dangerous weapons. Since 2003, 20th CBRNE Command EOD Soldiers have partnered with U.S. Navy EOD technicians to disable hundreds of thousands of improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dennis O’Dell, a Special Agent Bomb Technician from the FBI Seattle Office, facilitated the National Improvised Explosive Familiarization course with lead instructor Dr. Jack Barrow from the FBI Laboratory.
O’Dell said the training course makes all of the bomb squad personnel involved better at their high stakes job.
"Every opportunity we have to integrate our public safety bomb techs with our military EOD counterparts is value added,” said O’Dell. “The shared knowledge and experiences are incredibly important and make everyone a better tech."