MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia – Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Soldiers from the 55th Ordnance Company (EOD) and Marine Corps EOD technicians briefed a Congressional staff delegation on the potential threat posed by unexploded ordnance (UXO).
The staff members for Sen. Roy Blunt from Missouri, Rep. Tom Cole from Oklahoma and Rep. Mike Johnson from Louisiana spoke with the EOD technicians and viewed ordnance displays that ranged from submunitions to stinger missiles.
U.S. Army Col. Matthew L. Kuhns, the 52nd EOD Group commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael C. Gray, the 52nd EOD Group senior enlisted leader, also attended the visit.
Marine Corps Capt. David B. Southerland, the officer-in-charge of Quantico EOD technicians, fielded questions from the staffers after they viewed the static displays.
U.S. Army Capt. Matthew D. Booker, the commanding officer of the 55th EOD Company, said his EOD technicians discussed the hazards posed by explosive remnants of war.
“The 55th provided subject matter expert briefs to the staffers highlighting EOD's implicit knowledge of the identification and hazards of UXO and explosive effects,” said Booker. “We showcased EOD's importance not only during conflicts but following conflicts as well in our ability to educate and remediate explosive hazards.
“We talked about each category along with dud rates and the hazards and impacts those duds would have on the population while trying to rebuild,” said Booker, a Buffalo, N.Y., native who has deployed to Afghanistan.
The Fort Belvoir, Virginia-based 55th EOD Company “VIPers” are part of the 192nd EOD Battalion, 52nd EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military's premier all hazards command.
From 19 bases in 16 states, Soldiers and civilians from 20th CBRNE Command take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.
In addition to enabling military operations, the 55th EOD Company covers explosive mitigation missions in most of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, half of Pennsylvania, part of Washington, D.C., and part of West Virginia.
The company also supports the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of State during Very Important Person Protection Support Activity missions to provide protection to the president, first lady, vice president and foreign heads of states.