Most people try to avoid deadly improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Not Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Daniel Bogart: As an explosive ordnance disposal technician, it's his job to get up close and personal with these devices, often in combat situations. From August 2006 to March 2007, Bogart neutralized 65 IEDs, saving countless soldiers and Marines from harm. His actions – which required extensive technical knowledge and unflappable concentration – earned him the Bronze Star with “V” for valor.
Bogart's tasks as the team leader of the 1st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Platoon, 1st Marine Logistics Group, included disarming bombs and clearing explosives. A sense of normalcy is a sign of success: As Bogart told the Midland Reporter-Telegram, “You hear a lot about the [IEDs] that go off, but not about the ones we take apart.”
One of Bogart's most harrowing missions involved manually disabling three IEDs in Ramadi while under small-arms fire. After disarming the first two, a fourth IED exploded just three feet away, damaging Bogart's ear drums and injuring his partner as shrapnel covered the area.
Despite being wounded, Bogart refused to let medical personnel into the area since he knew there was at least one more live IED. Despite his injuries, Bogart defused the third IED, moved the injured Marine from the blast area, and then returned to perform a post-blast analysis – before finally allowing himself to be medevaced. After spending twelve days recovering from his wounds, Bogart returned full-time to his job.
Bogart participated in more than 170 combat missions during his seven-month tour, and disposed of over 11,000 pounds of unexploded ordnance. During many of these missions, Bogart had to avoid enemy machine-gun and RPG fire. He is quick to credit his comrades-in-arms for his many successful missions: “It is easy to do good things . . . when you are set up for success, surrounded by the best individuals and a good chain of command. . . . I could not have done anything on my own – it was a team effort.”
After two tours of duty in Iraq, Bogart is now a team leader for Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort's explosive ordnance disposal unit. In that capacity, he trains other Marines in his field. Bogart has also shared his knowledge with other coalition forces: In 2005, he provided assistance in explosive ordnance disposal training to Georgian soldiers set to deploy to Iraq.
While IEDs continue to be one of the greatest dangers our troops face, the efforts of servicemembers such as Bogart have greatly reduced this threat. On October 12, 2007, Bogart received the Bronze Star and his Senior EOD insignia, a well-deserved recognition of his courage and expertise. Bogart's decorations also include a Purple Heart and the Combat Action Ribbon.