New York Soldiers Represent Guard at All-Army EOD Competition

By Petty Officer 1st Class Stephanie Butler, New York National GuardMay 8, 2024

Sgt. 1st Class John Iseman, left, and Sgt. Jesus Calixto, explosive rrdnance disposal technicians with the 1108th Ordnance Company, discuss their strategy during the 2024 All-Army EOD Team of the Year competition in Fort Liberty, N.C., April 21-26. Iseman and Calixto represented the Army National Guard.
Sgt. 1st Class John Iseman, left, and Sgt. Jesus Calixto, explosive rrdnance disposal technicians with the 1108th Ordnance Company, discuss their strategy during the 2024 All-Army EOD Team of the Year competition in Fort Liberty, N.C., April 21-26. Iseman and Calixto represented the Army National Guard. (Photo Credit: Petty Officer 1st Class Stephanie Butler) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LIBERTY, N.C. - Two New York Soldiers represented the Army National Guard at the All-Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team of the Year Competition April 21-26.

Sgt. 1st Class John Iseman and Sgt. Jesus Calixto, members of the 1108th Ordnance Company, part of the New York Army National Guard’s 501st Ordnance Battalion (EOD), participated in this year’s competition.

Iseman, the company’s full-time readiness noncommissioned officer, said the two Soldiers spent four weeks preparing to compete against the Army’s best EOD experts.

“An EOD technician is always training to stay proficient in our field, which can include training lanes at the unit or going to schools,” Iseman said. “However, specifically for this competition, my team member came on orders for four weeks to train with me at our unit in Glenville, New York. The training included EOD training lanes, publication research, workouts and rucks.”

Participants were tested on fitness, technical/tactical skills and explosive hazard mitigation capabilities.

“The most difficult part of the competition was not getting enough sleep and being physically and mentally tired from multiple lanes a day,” Calixto said.

“We also had to load and unload all our gear and equipment every day,” he added. “The last day we also had night lanes followed by an 8-mile ruck after being up for 24 hours.”

Teams faced explosive hazards representing the full range of EOD operations and supporting large-scale combat and special operations.

“Sgt. Calixto and I were representing the entire National Guard EOD community,” Iseman said. “The things that we learned at the competition will be passed on to the team that competes in next year’s event so National Guard EOD can continue to be represented at the national level and work with our Active-Duty brothers and sisters.”

Staff Sgt. Tyler Grieves and Sgt. Tristen Lindsey from Active Army’s 760th Ordnance Disposal Company, a part of the 52nd Ordnance Group, won the competition.

The Fort Liberty, North Carolina-based 192nd EOD Battalion coordinated and planned the competition.

“It means a great deal to the 1108th but also to the New York National Guard for Sgt. 1st Class Iseman and Sgt. Calixto to participate in the All-Army EOD Team of the Year Competition,” said Capt. Tyler Barnes, the commander of the 1108th.

He said this was the second year in a row that an EOD team from the 1108th was selected to represent all National Guard EOD in the All-Army Competition. There are 14 other EOD companies in the National Guard across 11 states and one territory.

“The EOD community is very small, and success is greatly enhanced from the sharing of information,” Barnes said. “These new relationships will allow us to better remain up to date with future threats being employed across the world and how best to defeat them.”

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