Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technicians are the military’s bomb squad. EOD Techs are unique among servicemembers because as they are the only ones trained and qualified to disarm IEDs, WMDs andother CBRNE items. These Highly trained individuals undergo a thorough selection process prior to becoming accepted to train. Then, upon acceptance undergo from 10 months to over a year of training (the Navy must train at underwater operations) at the NAVSCOLEOD (Naval School EOD) in Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. All four branches train together and trainees face a 60% failure rate within the classes. Not governed by Army TRADOC, the school believes in the “Initial Success or Total Failure” Creed, and fails students who do not make the grade either academically, physically, practical tests, or emotionally. “Bombs have no pity,” and will not defer to rank, age, or background. As such, EOD school is seen as among the toughest in the Armed Forces, and its graduates rank as among the fewest in numbers within each branch.
After the 10 Months of training, EOD techs are assigned to units as P2’s or Team Members. The grueling schooling has only prepared them to stay alive to learn their job in actual practice. Now the learning begins in earnest. After a period of years as an “apprentice” tech, the Team Member undergoes further schooling and a test for his coveted Team Leader status. Upon earning Team Leader status the EOD tech assumes tremendous responsibility for not only himself, but a wider range of responsibility and authority depending on the circumstance. Team Leaders in EOD typically begin at E-6 in rank, but in equivalent responsibility for equipment, impact upon the Battlefield, and knowledge and skill possessed, are equivalent to an O-3, or officer in many other fields. Team Leaders must be self motivating, problem solve quickly, accurately, and on multiple levels, and make decisions while considering the impact 2 to 3 levels deep.
Throughout the EOD tech’s career, he or she is constantly training and honing their level of knowledge and skills. From Biological, Chemical, Nuclear ordnance, and IEDs, to supporting missions with the Secret Service, Special Operations of all branches, and various departments.
Each EOD Operator must possess the ability to train others on Explosive safety, and threats from Explosives, UXO, IEDs, and CBRNE / WMD weapons in addition to knowing how to disarm them and mitigate their effects. A typical Team Leader has thousands of hours in teaching time accrued in the dissemination of safety courses to fellow military and civilian alike.
EOD Operators are also extensively trained in Post Blast Forensics and Terrorist Operations.
Others may “Talk the Talk” BUT ONLY EOD OPERATORS CAN WALK THE WALK with respect to IEDs.
Average time as a Basic EOD badge wearer is 3 years, Senior badge at 6 years, and Master badge after surviving 8 years and obtaining extensive training, demonstrating advanced skills, proven ability to teach, and excelling at all tasks assigned.
The Civilian Law Enforcement sector has a school for Bomb Squad Technicians known as HDS (Hazardous Device School). It is run by the FBI utilizing Army EOD trainers. The school generally runs just over a month and familiarizes Law Enforcement personnel with IED operations.