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EOD Marines Sharpen Skills, Increases Readiness
by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Terry Haynes
October 8, 2018

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines conducted a tool familiarization range aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort during July 2018. The training was conducted to help train the Marines maintain their proficiency in their skills with the instruments they use in their day-to-day operations.

Staff Sgt. Steve Gomez wires detonation cord during a tool familiarization range aboard MCAS Beaufort on July 11, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Terry Haynes)
Staff Sgt. Steve Gomez wires detonation cord during a tool familiarization range aboard MCAS Beaufort on July 11, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Terry Haynes)
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To become an EOD technician, Marines have to move from their previous military occupational specialty at the rank or corporal or sergeant. Marines must go through a screening process with already qualified EOD Marines before attending a 7-month school at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

“We conduct this sort of training fairly often,” said Sgt. Keith Bobowick, an EOD technician with MCAS Beaufort. “These ranges are great for refreshing our skills and shaking off the cobwebs. We have to maintain our proficiency in the basics, so that when the time comes we can step up to the plate.”

During the exercise, the Marines split off into four groups of two-man teams to setup and properly dispose of different ordnance items. They have to respond properly to complete the mission in the most effective, safe and timely manner.

Sgt. Josh Alexander, left, and Staff Sgt. Steve Gomez measure a piece of ordnance during a tool familiarization range aboard MCAS Beaufort on July 11, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Terry Haynes)
Sgt. Josh Alexander, left, and Staff Sgt. Steve Gomez measure a piece of ordnance during a tool familiarization range aboard MCAS Beaufort on July 11, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Terry Haynes)
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“Safety is always important when we conduct any exercise like this,” said Gunnery Sgt. Forrest Seymour, an EOD technician with MCAS Beaufort. “We have to keep an eye on the weather and make sure everyone is using the correct protection gear, such as safety glass. In case anything was to happen, we have a corpsman on deck as well.”

As the Marines complete each step of the exercise, they also document their progress. This documentation can later be used to assist the unit with future training exercises.

“Most of these types of tools that we use during the range are incorporated into other sustainment training as well,” said Sgt. Cliff Oskvarek an EOD technician with Marine Wing Support Detachment 31. “Whether we are deployed or in a field exercise, we’ll be using these instruments. It helps to be comfortable with them so we can maintain that state of preparedness.”

With the knowledge learned by the Marines during the exercise, they will be able to evaluate and defuse ordnance while completing their mission in any clime or place.

Sgt. Derek Ford fastens a piece of equipment in place during a tool familiarization range aboard MCAS Beaufort on July 11, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Terry Haynes)
Sgt. Derek Ford fastens a piece of equipment in place during a tool familiarization range aboard MCAS Beaufort on July 11, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Terry Haynes)
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“The skills and techniques utilized during the exercise will ensure Marines are prepared to evaluate and defuse ordnance during future missions,” said Seymour, the Officer in charge of the range. “Whenever we go next, I have full faith in the ability in every one of our Marines here.”

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