The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community hosted its 44th annual EOD Memorial Ceremony May 4 at the Kauffman EOD Training Complex on Eglin Air Force Base, where the names of 11 fallen EOD technicians from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force were added to the memorial wall.
Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert spoke on behalf of the families of the fallen in attendance, and presented flags flown over the memorial to three families of Navy EOD technicians that made the ultimate sacrifice and whose names were added to the memorial this year.
“EOD is a unique community,” said Greenert. “It is the preeminent team of explosive experts. People here today do not just disarm ordnance; they prevent it from causing harm. Today we honor special Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen who believed in putting the safety of others above their own. They all believed in serving others before themselves.”
Every year on the first Saturday in May, the joint service EOD community holds a ceremony to add the names of recently fallen heroes to the memorial and rededicate it to all fallen warriors, both past and present. The names of EOD technicians added to the memorial during this somber ceremony included technicians who died in the last year while conducting EOD missions.
The Commanding Officer of Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (NAVSCOLEOD), Capt. Joseph Polanin, noted that the memorial service not only remembers those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to our nation’s safety since the beginning of EOD, but the safety of future generations of Americans.
“These warriors exemplify a 72-year legacy of valor and will forever inspire selflessness and trust in their successors,” said Polanin. “We cherish the quiet professionalism, which is the cornerstone of the EOD technician’s ethos. They know that freedom is only one generation away from extinction. It must be fought for, protected, and passed on for our children to do the same.”
The names added to the memorial this year brings the total names to 298; 121 names have been added since September 11, 2001.
“We will honor their last full measure of devotion for all eternity,” added Polanin. “We know their sacrifices will not be in vain and our just cause will prevail.” The ceremony was hosted by NAVSCOLEOD, and preparations for the ceremony were coordinated and executed by staff from all four services at the school, as well as members of the EOD Warrior Foundation.
The EOD Memorial Foundation, established in 1969, merged with the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation in March 2013 to form the EOD Warrior Foundation, which combines the missions and resources of these organizations to increase the capacity to serve and support the joint service EOD community.
The original location of the EOD Memorial was in Indian Head, Md., along with the first joint service EOD School. In 1999, the memorial relocated to the Kauffman EOD Training Complex at Eglin when the school moved to Florida.
NAVSCOLEOD, located on Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., provides high-risk, specialized, basic and advanced EOD training to more than 2,100 U.S. and partner nation military and selected U.S. government personnel each year.
Press Release, May 6, 2013; Image: US Navy