CAMP LEJEUNE, North Carolina – U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Soldiers competed with U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force EOD technicians during the 3rd East Coast EOD Team of the Year competition, Oct. 18 – 22.
Three Army EOD teams representing the 722nd Ordnance Company (EOD), 767th Ordnance Company (EOD) and 38th Ordnance Company (EOD) took part in the five-day competition where 10 teams competed for top honors.
A Marine Corps team took first place in the competition that was hosted by the 8th Engineer Support Battalion on Marine Corps Base, Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jonathan W. Seery, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician from Charlie Section, 2nd EOD Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, said teamwork was the key to success.
“Hard work and a competitive nature went a long way in winning the team competition, but I firmly believe that good team cohesion was what allowed us to excel,” said Seery, a nine-year U.S. Marine Corps veteran from Bradenton, Florida. “The highlight of having the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force teams at the Team of the Year competition was the comradery that was built staying out in the field and the bridges that were built to make efforts to start working together in the future.”
The EOD technicians tackled many challenging scenarios from responding to a potential chemical munition and defeating an improvised explosive device to rescuing a hostage and exploiting an ordnance cache. The teams also participated in a bomb suit endurance course, Marine Corps Marksmanship Pistol Qualification, three-mile run, written test and a robot obstacle course.
Sgt. Jacob B. Stinson led a team from the 722nd EOD Company during the Team of the Year competition.
Before joining the U.S. Army, Stinson served in the U.S. Marine Corps for eight years where he deployed to the Middle East and Africa with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit. A native of Corvallis, Oregon, Stinson said the joint service competition provided a great training opportunity for his team.
“My team did very well throughout the week,” said Stinson. “There was a lot of communication in how we tackle certain scenarios through different tactics or slightly different methodologies and that helps all EOD units across the Department of Defense.”
The U.S. Army EOD teams are part of the 52nd EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command.
From 19 bases in 16 states, Soldiers and civilians from the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland-headquartered 20th CBRNE Command take on the world’s most dangerous threats and hazards. The Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 722nd EOD Company and 767th EOD Company are part of the U.S. Army’s Immediate Response Force, which is capable of deploying to hotspots around the world on short notice. The 38th EOD Company is stationed on Fort Stewart, Georgia.
Army EOD Soldiers routinely train and operate together with joint and allied EOD technicians as well as civilian bomb squad personnel.
Since 2003, 20th CBRNE Command EOD Soldiers partnered with U.S. Navy EOD technicians to defeat hundreds of thousands of improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Joint EOD training provides perspective on our practices and allows us to compare readiness,” said Capt. Kyle A. Hillis, the commander of the 722nd EOD Company. “All of our EOD careers start at a joint school (the Naval EOD School on Eglin Air Force Base in Niceville, Florida) and we should make a conscious effort to maintain our connections.
“The Marine Team of the Year delivered great training for three of our teams and got our techs hands on experience with new equipment,” said Hillis, a native of Laguna Hills, California. “These experiences will lead to cross training in the company and future purchase request in order to provide the best EOD support to the Immediate Response Force.”