EOD has important, but explosive job

15 Sep 2000 | LCpl. Allan J. Grdovich

Initial success or total failure. These can be words to live by if you are in the business of detonating or disarming explosives. For many of the Marines who enjoy this dangerous task, a wrong move may mean the injury of themselves or a fellow leatherneck. These hard charging defusing blastmasters are the small band of brothers of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal, 2d Force Service Support Group unit.

One of the smallest units in the Corps, consisting of approximately 300 troops, EOD Marines have one of the most important jobs and are called upon during formal or combat scenarios.

"The exciting part of our job is we are versatile. EOD units are usually called upon to neutralize explosives, which have not discharged, but we are not limited to being in the field. At Camp Lejeune we work in coordination with local police bomb squads in seven surrounding counties and are on call 24-hours a day," said Training Operations Chief for 2d EOD Platoon, 8th Engineers Support Battalion, 2d FSSG, Gunnery Sgt. John B. Barber.

According to Barber, minimums of two-man-teams are sent out when handling a dangerous situation, usually a junior and a senior Marine.

Since the 2336 Military Occupational Specialty is only open to sergeants and above, the higher ranking Marine is usually a staff sergeant or gunnery sergeant, said Barber.

Whether clearing a minefield, walking up on a dead grenade or disarming a nuclear bomb, the job of an EOD Marine is dangerous. In order to perform their jobs correctly, a wide array of specialized tools, such as portable x-ray machines, Tactical Allover Protection suits and robots, are provided to make their perilous job a little easier.

"When you are tasked with defusing a live explosive, there is no room for error. While we are in school, we are sent through a very extensive course learning about almost every kind of bomb one can think up. It is impossible to learn about them all because, in the end, the assembly is up to the individuals imagination," said Gunnery Sgt. Richard L. Harrington, EOD disposal technician for Marine Corps Base here.

According to Barber, EOD Marines are always in the background of high profile events, usually with the help of Secret Service, the FBI or other government agencies making sure the threat of terrorist attacks are at a minimum by securing and searching areas that may be vulnerable to them.

Every EOD Marine wears the bomb, wreath, lighting bolts and shield badge to symbolize his job. The MOS is always looking for squared away people, said Harrington.

"If you like to deploy this is also a good place to be," he said.

For more information on becoming an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Marine contact your career planner or contact the Camp Lejeune EOD at (910) 450-0558.