ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – An Army major at the U.S. military’s premier all hazards command earned his Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal Badge, Aug. 26.
Maj. Michael C. Fancher received the prestigious badge during a ceremony at the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command Headquarters.
Fancher serves as a training and exercises planner at the 20th CBRNE Command Headquarters on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
From 19 bases in 16 states, Soldiers and Army civilians from the 20th CBRNE Command take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.
The command is home to 75 percent of the Active Duty Army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) specialists, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, five Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Teams and three Nuclear Disablement Teams.
Sgt. Maj. Joseph O. Richardson, the operations sergeant major and the senior EOD noncommissioned officer at the 20th CBRNE Command Headquarters, presented the Master EOD badge to Fancher.
“Within the EOD community, the Master EOD Badge is a big deal,” said Richardson, adding that the badge is a special accomplishment for an Army EOD officer because it takes eight years to earn in different EOD assignments.
Richardson, who is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, served as the company first sergeant at Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 737th Ordnance Company (EOD) when Fancher commanded the company. They both decommissioned the company in 2016.
A graduate of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, Fancher has served in the U.S. Army for 13 years. He was commissioned as a quartermaster and earned a slot in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal program while attending training at Fort Lee, Virginia.
He served as a platoon leader and operations officer for the Grafenwoehr, Germany-based 702nd Ordnance Company (EOD) and deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 – 2013.
Fancher said the EOD mission that stands out the most was responding to an Improvised Explosive Device following an IED hit on the rear vehicle during a route clearance mission.
“My biggest highlight has to be taking my platoon downrange and bringing them all back,” said Fancher, a native of Holton, Indiana, who also previously served as the Installation Transportation Officer at U.S. Army Garrison Kwajalein Atoll.
Fancher became an Army EOD officer because he wanted to expand his professional experience beyond managing logistics.
“I believe the Master EOD Badge to be important because it reflects a culmination of time in service and experience in the EOD career field and it is something for EOD officers and Soldiers to strive for,” said Fancher, who plans to continue to serve in EOD positions that will enable him to further his Army career.