Explosive Ordnance Disposal First Class (EWS/SW/AW/FPJ) Luis Ariel Souffront was born on November 6, 1982 in New York City, New York. He graduated from Barbara Goleman Senior High School in Miami, Florida in June 2000. EOD1 Souffront entered active duty on July 24, 2000 and reported for Recruit Training at Naval Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois. After completing both Recruit training and Quartermaster “A” School, he reported to Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal School at Eglin AFB, Florida and graduated July 16, 2002. Upon graduation EOD1 Souffront reported to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit FIVE in Guam.
Petty Officer Souffront was assigned to Detachment 11 and completed advanced Team Training in San Diego, California. He then deployed in support of exercise CARAT-03 to both Singapore and Malaysia instructing over 75 officer and enlisted personnel in Improvised Explosive Device (IED), booby-trap and landmine procedures. Always more than willing to lend a hand, Luis was awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal for recovery efforts to families during and after Typhoon Pongsona hit the island of Guam.
Luis continued deployments aboard the USS ESSEX in support of ARGEX 03-01 and SOCEX where he earned his Enlisted Surface Warfare (SW) and Air Warfare (AW) qualifications simultaneously. Additionally, he provided EOD support for the U.S. Secret Service in support of President Bush’s visit to Bali, Indonesia. He then augmented NSW Squadron SEVEN Charlie Platoon during SOCEX and provided the framework for VBSS operations in and around the island of Okinawa, Japan. In recognition of his efforts he was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal. When not at work you could always count on finding him out at sea doing what he loved – diving and spear fishing.
In 2004 Luis was assigned to U.S. Army Special Forces 1st/1st Charlie Company in Okinawa, Japan and volunteered for back to back deployments. During this time he planned and supervised the detachment’s mobilization to multiple Pacific Rim countries. A consummate professional, he was the primary HRST Master on numerous SOF forces training missions and responsible for conducting Special Operations Commander site visit assessments to remote areas of the Philippines. EOD1 Souffront was recognized as the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit FIVE Junior Sailor of the Year for his tireless efforts and dedicated work ethic.
Luis screened for and was selected to Naval Special Warfare Development Group, he reported to NSWDG in Virginia Beach, Virginia in November 2005. Throughout a rigorous six-month Joint EOD and SEAL Selection and Training course, he was the top Marksman in his class. Recognized as a skilled EOD technician, he was immediately deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and participated in countless critical missions. Luis was killed in action while attached to a Joint Task Force as the EOD Team Leading Petty Officer during his second combat deployment to Iraq. He was an outstanding leader, exceptional EOD Technician, and friend to anyone he met.
Petty Officer Souffront was awarded the Bronze Star (Valor) and Purple Heart, posthumously, for heroic achievement during combat operations against the enemy as a Joint Task Force Assault Team Member on the 8th of February, 2008 in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
EOD1 Souffront is survived by his father Rafael A. Souffront; mother Clara E. Souffront; and many other family members, friends, and shipmates.