Story by LCpl Liah Kitchen on 04/18/2017Explosive Ordnance Disposal can be traced back to World War II. The U.S. needed to train personnel to properly disarm unexploded explosive ordnance as a result of heavy bombing runs that took place in the European theater of operations.
Today, the Marine Corps has a military occupational specialty dedicated to Explosive Ordnance Disposal.
"EOD is a volunteer-only MOS," said Staff Sgt. Trevor Hicks, an EOD team leader and supply chief with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron (HHS) EOD. "Explosives are the number one cause of injuries to our Marines; being able to counteract some of that is some of the most rewarding work I could do."
To become an EOD technician, Marines must laterally move from their previous military occupational specialty at the rank of corporal or sergeant. All interested Marines go through an EOD screening process with EOD Marines before they attend the 7-month EOD school at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Upon completion of EOD training, Marines are assigned to EOD units throughout the Marine Corps.
EOD Marines with HHS are responsible for responding to all EOD-related threats on MCAS Miramar as well as the disposal of unexploded explosive ordnance on MCAS Miramar and the surrounding areas.
"We get calls to dispose of unexploded explosive ordnance out in town," said Hicks. "A lot of times family members of old veterans will find old grenades after they move away and we have to respond to those calls."
Training on a nearly daily basis is one of the key parts of an EOD Marine's day. The training keeps EOD Marines proficient in the event that they are needed to respond to a potential threat on base.
"We train so that we have the skills and knowledge to go out and successfully complete a mission," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Eatherton, an EOD team leader and the training chief for HHS EOD.
According to Eatherton, Miramar EOD conducts daily training to maintain mission readiness and proficiency with their gear.
"The most important thing at the end of the day is that we have the skills to protect our Marines," said Eatherton. "It's the reason I became an EOD tech in the first place."