FORT BRAGG, N.C. – U.S. Army and British Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians honed their lifesaving and mission-enabling skills on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
American Soldiers from the 722nd Ordnance Company (EOD) trained with British EOD troops from the 821st EOD and Search unit, July 11 – 21.
The bilateral training event was supported by the Special Forces Operations Detachment-Alpha from 3rd Special Forces Group, the 135th General Support Aviation Battalion and the U.S. Air Force's 14th Air Support Operations Squadron.
The 722nd EOD Company is part of the Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 192nd EOD Battalion, 52nd EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. Department of Defense’s premier deployable all hazards formation.
Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians from the 20th CBRNE Command deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.
U.S. Army EOD companies on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, support the XVIII Airborne Corps and 82nd Airborne Division on the U.S. Army’s Immediate Response Force.
According to 1st Sgt. Rob Crull, the senior enlisted leader of the 722nd EOD Company, the training covered a wide variety of scenarios that EOD troops could face on the battlefield.
Crull said the training events included an advanced rifle marksmanship range, an EOD skills day, a mass casualty scenario, a downed aircraft scenario, a minefield strike, a multi-ordnance scenario with live ordnance, a protection scenario and a night UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter raid into an enemy compound with an explosive cache and homemade explosive laboratory.
“The highlight of the training was being able to understand our differences and plugging them into our formation to prepare for a contingency that we may have to task organize together to meet mission intent in the next conflict,” said Crull. “They are building a program similar to ours to which a lot of what we showcased they are going to be able to take back to the UK to pave the way for Airborne EOD into the Airborne Brigade they are assigned to.”
The EOD technicians also held a cultural day at the local Airborne and Special Operations Museum and discussed the history of airborne operations.
The 722nd EOD Company was activated last year for the Afghanistan evacuation and the company was marshalled to perform an airborne assault.
During his 19 years in the U.S. Army, Crull has deployed 13 times and he has served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Some of the U.S. Army EOD Soldiers involved in the training event have previously served with British troops in Afghanistan.
Crull said the training event gave the American and British troops the chance to train like they would fight – in a combined and joint force.
“This increased interoperability to prepare for any contingency where the U.S. and its allies may find themselves on the same battlefield,” said Crull. “Understanding each other’s similarities and differences helped each side grasp an understanding of how we would best utilize each other based on our strengths on the same battlefield.”