FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal techs returned home to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, following a three-month training session with Senegalese Armed Forces EOD troops in Dakar, Senegal.
Soldiers from the 763rd Ordnance Company (EOD) recently conducted new equipment and counter Improvised Explosive Device training with Senegalese forces in the West African nation.
Staff Sgt. Quincy L. Baumeister, the training noncommissioned officer-in-charge from Sturgis, South Dakota; Sgt. Robert B. Singleton from Blue Springs, Missouri; Sgt. Tyler J. Hassell from Camden, North Carolina; and Sgt. Chane E. Thomas from Baltimore conducted the training in Senegal.
Capt. Patrick A. Nieto, the commander of the 763rd EOD Company, said his EOD technicians trained 12 noncommissioned officers from Senegalese Armed Forces in support of the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETF-A).
Nieto said his EOD Soldiers demonstrated and trained the Senegalese EOD troops with new EOD robots, bomb suits, X-ray systems and other technical equipment required for IED disruption and disposal. The Senegalese forces received the new equipment from the SETF-A and the 763rd EOD Company Soldiers trained the Senegalese forces.
Nieto said the highlight of the Senegal training mission was graduation week.
“Upon my arrival, my teams introduced me to the participants. Every participant greeted my teams with their local dialect and my teams responded back in kind,” said Nieto.
“Both the Senegalese and U.S. Soldiers shared each other’s culture and appreciation. The commander of the training site thanked us for sending our best instructors,” said Nieto. “The atmosphere was cheerful and professional as the Soldiers exchanged jokes and stories.”
The 763rd EOD Company “Ozark Bandits” are part of the 242nd EOD Battalion, 71st EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier multifunctional CBRNE formation.
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.
In addition to deploying for overseas missions, EOD technicians from the 763rd EOD Company also support explosive mitigation missions for any military munitions found in Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota. The EOD techs also protect the nation’s most senior leaders and foreign heads of state on Very Important Personnel Protection Support Activity missions.
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Nieto enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2011. He was later commissioned through the ROTC program at Indiana University and deployed to Kuwait.
Nieto said he became an EOD officer because he wanted to be part of an elite profession that protects people and enables operations.
“I simply wanted to be with some of the best people the Army has to offer,” said Nieto. “There is rarely a day that is the same as the last and the constant flux of missions and training make this one of the best careers in the Army.”