Fort Leonard Wood Explosive Ordnance Disposal Soldiers are hosting a recruiting event 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 3 at the Main Exchange.
They are currently seeking junior enlisted Soldiers, E-3 through E-5, looking for a career change into what Army officials call the preeminent tactical and technical explosives experts.
EOD specialists (89D) research and identify ordnance, assist in the preparation and use of advanced robotics, explosively dispose of hazardous ordnance, and prepare and maintain tools, equipment and vehicles. Their mission extends beyond the Department of Defense — they also assist civilian organizations with ordnance identification and disposal.
In addition to their standard pay, EOD Soldiers additionally receive $150 demolition pay and $375 special-duty assignment pay each month.
According to Staff Sgt. Jarrett Bracewell, an EOD technician assigned to the 763rd Ordnance Company, one of the best reasons to consider EOD is the “mature, disciplined Soldiers” the career field tends to attract.
“I’ve been in the Army for eight years — all EOD — and I’d have to say the people I work with make this a fun job,” he said. “In general, the requirements to go to EOD school, what it takes to get through it — by the time they get to their units, we have more mature, disciplined Soldiers.”
Spc. Cameron Daley is a firefighter who recently decided to make the switch to EOD.
“I wanted to stay a first responder, but also still deploy and get a little combat time in the Army,” he said.
Daley is finishing a period of on-the-job training with the 763rd here before he leaves next month for the 37-week EOD Advanced Individual Training, which is split between Fort Lee, Virginia and Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. He said he feels well prepared.
“There’s a bunch of great (noncommissioned officers) here who have taught me a lot of stuff to prepare me for school,” he said.
Bracewell said while at AIT, Daley will learn basic fundamentals of electronics and electricity, identification of U.S. and foreign munitions, demolition materials, procedures and operations, and chemical and biological ordnance and operations.
Daley pointed out that these skills are also transferable into a career with other government agencies, civil law enforcement and private industries performing ordnance research and development. He looks forward to getting some certifications to prepare for life beyond the Army one day.
“I might possibly become a bomb tech or border patrol or something like that,” he said.
Bracewell, who will oversee the recruiting event at the PX, said all EOD applicants must:
— be a U.S. citizen.
— have a minimum ASVAB score of 105 in general maintenance.
— possess a U.S. driver’s license.
— have a minimum physical profile of 111221.
— be eligible for a top-secret security clearance.
— have normal color vision.
He added anyone considering EOD should know the learning curve is steep, but the everyday work is interesting and rewarding.
“We do demolitions; we’re always out at the ranges; we’re running (improvised explosive device) training scenarios, learning circuit diagnostics,” Bracewell said. “We learn all of the ordnance because we can get called on for almost anything — if it’s ordnance related, that’s our jurisdiction. Whether it’s on the installation or off.”
Bracewell said it’s a bit like being a historian sometimes.
“We got a call from a sheriff two hours away not too long ago,” he said. “There was a WWII ordnance. We came down, identified it and took care of it for him. We’re constantly studying everything from way back in the beginning of ordnance all the way to the brand-new stuff that’s being fielded.”
2nd Lt. Peter Campbell, executive officer for the 763rd, said the unique thing about EOD is it’s a very NCO-driven organization.
“The team leader is the backbone of EOD — typically an E-6, sometimes an E-5,” he said. “My job as an officer is to make sure they can get their job done because they have the knowledge and experience in doing EOD operations. In this job, experience is the most valuable asset we have.”
Campbell said he tends to “lean on the people who’ve been doing it.”
“Coming from the school, you get the basic overview — and you’re now qualified to do your job — but you don’t know everything there is to know,” he said. “The people here are very intelligent. They’re definitely above average in everything just to even get to the school, so working with them is awesome.”
In addition to the Sept. 3 event, junior enlisted Soldiers considering EOD as a career can also call the Army’s EOD recruiters any time at 253.966.3903 for more information.