FORT SILL, Oklahoma – U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians conducted emergency disablement training with a Multiple Launch Rocket System unit here at the U.S. Army's premier Field Artillery installation.
Army EOD Soldiers from the 761st Ordnance Company (EOD) trained with artillerymen from Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 4th Field Artillery Regiment.
Capt. Matthew J. Piranian, the commander of the 761st Ordnance Company (EOD), said the training is required to keep artillery units ready to deploy.
“The emergency disablement training is a critical task for the Multiple Launch Rocket System batteries,” said Piranian. “It is a procedure done in order to prevent the system from falling into enemy hands.
“My EOD technicians provided Alpha Battery, 2-4th Field Artillery, with a basic demolition class and then conducted a practical exercise to ensure they can safely conduct the procedure in a deployed environment,” said Piranian, an Afghanistan veteran from Tewksbury, Massachusetts. “It is a pre-deployment requirement for the battery.”
Staff Sgt. James P. Davis from the 761st EOD Company instructed the 2-4th Field Artillery Soldiers on basic demolition procedures. He then put the instruction into practice by building, placing and donating explosive charges.
“This exercise gives 2-4th Field Artillery the confidence to successfully perform their emergency destruct procedures if the need were to arise in a real world scenario,” said Davis. “The most important part of this was making sure that since the Field Artillery personnel do not normally handle these types of explosives, that they understand the hazards associated with them and how to mitigate those hazards, keeping all personnel safe in the future.”
Davis said Soldiers from his company regularly work with Field Artillery units on Fort Sill, which is home to the U.S. Army Fires Center of Excellence.
“As EOD technicians, we specialize in using explosives in the destruction and disposal of all types of ordnance,” said Davis, a Bladenboro, North Carolina, native who has deployed to Afghanistan. “This type of training event, however, is rather unique to the location. We are truly only able to accomplish this because of our location and partnership with local units. Multiple times a year we coordinate to work with various units on post.”
Soldiers from the 761st EOD Company served in Africa in 2019 and Afghanistan in 2017. The company also supports domestic explosive mitigation missions in Oklahoma, Arkansas and across 60 counties in Texas.
The company is part of the 79th EOD Battalion, 71st EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command.
Headquartered on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, 20th CBRNE Command Soldiers and civilians deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to take on the world’s most dangerous weapons. The command is home to 75 percent of the Active U.S. Army’s EOD and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear units, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, Nuclear Disablement Teams and Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Teams.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jorge Arzabala, the senior enlisted leader for the 20th CBRNE Command, visited the EOD technicians during the training with the 2-4th Field Artillery on Fort Sill.
Arzabala, who routinely checks on the training, health and welfare of the Soldiers within the 20th CBRNE Command at installations around the nation, said the 761st Ordnance Company demonstrated their ability to enable lethality for maneuver forces during large scale combat operations.
“This training was a clear example of collaboration at the tactical level while exercising mission command at its absolute finest,” said Arzabala, a 22-year U.S. Army veteran from El Paso, Texas. “Soldiers from the 761st Ordnance Company are another reason why the 20th CBRNE Command is the premier all hazards formation in the Department of Defense. They are a disciplined and cohesive team that enables the lethality of the units they support. It was an honor to meet the members of 2-4th Field Artillery and spend time with them in the field focusing on the fundamentals.”