Washington, D.C. – Earlier today, Representative Rick Crawford (AR-1) joined his colleagues Susan Davis (CA-53), Brian Mast (FL-18), and Tim Walz (MN-01) in announcing the formation of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (E.O.D.) caucus for the 115th Congress. Originally formed in 2011 by Representatives Rick Crawford and Susan Davis, the EOD caucus will now welcome Rep. Mast and Rep. Walz as additional co-chairs.
Across all branches of our military, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians risk their lives to protect others by rendering safe every type of ordnance from hand grenades to improvised explosive devices (IEDs), to naval mines, to nuclear weapons, and more. These highly specialized EOD technicians perform their mission on land and at sea, as well as operating not only in theater abroad but also by partnering with civil authorities and lending their expertise to neutralize domestic threats.
Despite pressures of war, terrorism, and the critical missions that these warriors fulfill, our nation’s relatively small bomb disposal forces often don’t receive the credit they deserve for the risks they take to protect civilians and their fellow soldiers.
Rep. Rick Crawford, who served in the Army as an EOD technician for four years, said the following:
“In an age where we see lone-wolf attacks becoming more routine, the mission of EOD forces to render safe all manner of explosive devices is more important than ever before. As a caucus, it is our job to educate other members of Congress about EOD’s role not only in keeping our troops safe abroad, but also in supporting law enforcement state side. I’m looking forward to advancing legislation this year that ensures our EOD forces have the resources and capabilities they need to perform their crucial mission.”
Rep. Davis said: “I am honored to co-chair this very important caucus, which touches a particularly important segment of our military, one which has borne the strain of over a decade of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than has been typical.”
Rep. Mast said “The scars on my body are a daily reminder that the radical extremists we are fighting in the war on terror want nothing more than to destroy our way of life. While I was in the Army, I worked every day to help keep my fellow soldiers safe from this enemy. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to build on my personal experiences to help support the next generation of EOD forces.”
Rep. Walz said: “Our EOD forces are true American heroes who put their lives on the line to keep our troops and communities safe. The least we can do is ensure they have the tools and resources they need. I look forward to working with my colleagues in this Congress to support these brave men and women and the work they do.”
Explosive Ordnance Disposal History
Explosive Ordnance Disposal was formed in reaction to a recently emerged threat, namely, unexploded bombs and mines. In 1941, the School of Civilian Defense was organized to train for bomb disposal at Chemical Warfare School, Edgewood Arsenal. Also in 1941, the United States Naval Mine Disposal School was established at Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C, and the first class of that school graduated the same year. The Army and the Navy also both formally decided to organize “Bomb Disposal”, the forerunner of Explosive Ordnance Disposal, in December 1941 following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
In the early years, most of the technicians deployed with nothing more than courage, a hammer, a chisel, and a spanner wrench. They had to learn and improvise many render safe procedures using only their collective knowledge, instinct, and the lessons learned from their sometimes fallen brethren. Since those early days, EOD has assumed many new missions and roles, as well as becoming increasingly technologically advanced and precise.
With increased concerns of terrorism in the wake of recent attacks, many are realizing that the nature of attacks against U.S. forces or on U.S. soil have fundamentally changed. Enemies attempting to harm our nation will increasingly turn to lone-wolf tactics, which very well may include explosive devices that our bomb technicians will be counted on to render safe.
The unofficial motto of EOD, “Initial Success or Total Failure”, is not taken lightly by members in the field. It reflects their training, attitude, and drive to be the absolute best at what they do, while still knowingly accepting both the dangers and the fate that may await them.
Press Release – U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford