EOD, which stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal, means these specialists detect, locate, render safe, and dispose of explosive threats all over the world, in the safest manner possible. They are the only service members that earn the joint service military decoration known as the “EOD Badge” or “Crab.” This is the only occupational badge awarded to all four services and is given to EOD specialists who are trained to disarm and dispose of explosive devices.
Considered to be the most dangerous job within the military, you may be surprised to learn what else is involved in the job of an EOD technician. Here’s more information about what they do:
Render Safe Domestic and Foreign Ordnance
For those who are EOD technicians, they are responsible for rendering safe many types of domestic and foreign ordnance. These threats include chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear weapons, as well as improvised explosive devices (IED). These experts perform very challenging work for the cause of protecting other service members and the general public. But while most of their tasks have them on dry land, that is not always the case. Because of this, the U.S. Navy trains their EOD techs in underwater ordnance techniques, including locating and identifying explosives, rendering them safe, and recovery and disposal methods.
Often Have Support and Teaching Roles
When not on the battlefield or elsewhere performing various duties, EOD technicians also lend their expertise to others in different ways. For example, they provide security support for VIPs such as politicians or dignitaries, assist law enforcement with searches, post blast investigations and incidents that may involve acts of domestic terrorism. They conduct training exercises and other teaching opportunities for civilian and military personnel.
Take on Intelligence Duties
Due to their highly-specialized knowledge about various types of explosives, EOD technicians are invaluable assets to numerous government intelligence units. Because of this, they are often called in to perform searches of various buildings, sport facilities or other places where high-ranking personnel or others will be staying or working.
Use State-of-the-Art Equipment
Perhaps more than anything, today’s EOD technicians are trained to use the most sophisticated ordnance detection and disposal equipment found anywhere on the planet. They utilize robotic devices called Packbots and Talons, which are controlled remotely by a technician. Equipped with sensors, microphones, and cameras, these devices will let an EOD technician determine the type of explosive device with which they are dealing, the safest way to dispose of it, and other critical decisions, from a safe distance. In fact, these robots have manipulators that allow it to open doors, climb stairs, and move items, letting the EOD technician gain a better perspective of the area where the suspected item is located.
Perform Specialized Duties Worldwide
Finally, U.S. military EOD technicians may perform specialized duties anywhere in the world. As a result, they are trained to do scuba missions, parachute insertions into hard-to-reach areas, and are members of Special Patrol insertion and extraction teams that use everything from small boats to armored personnel carriers.
Even with the highest levels of training and using state-of-the-art equipment to aid them in their efforts, EOD technicians still have an incredibly dangerous job. This job not only impacts the lives of the EOD techs themselves, but also on the lives of the family members and friends.