US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians render safe all types of ordnance, including improvised, chemical, biological, and nuclear. They perform land and underwater location, identification, render-safe, and recovery (or disposal) of foreign and domestic ordnance. They conduct demolition of hazardous munitions, pyrotechnics, and retrograde explosives using detonation and burning techniques. They forward deploy and fully integrate with the various Combatant Commanders, Special Operations Forces (SOF), and various warfare units within the Navy, Marine Corps, and Army. They are also called upon to support military and civilian law enforcement agencies, as well as the Secret Service.
EOD Technicians’ missions take them to all environments, and every climate, in every part of the world. They have many assets available to arrive to their mission, from open- and closed-circuit scuba and surface supplied diving rigs, to parachute insertion from fixed-wing aircraft and fast-rope, abseil, and Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction (SPIE) from rotary aircraft, to small boats and tracked vehicles.
Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams trace their history back to the first group of volunteers selected to work with the famed British UXO teams, following the initial German Blitzkrieg attacks in early 1940. In June 1941, these veterans returned to form the first class in what was originally named the Mine Recovery School. Officers and enlisted personnel entered the eleven-week school, qualifying as Mine Recovery Personnel/Second Class Divers. Between June 1941 and October 1945, nineteen classes graduated and deployed throughout the Pacific and Mediterranean theaters. Divided into Mobile Explosive Investigative Units (MEIU) they were instrumental in the clearance of explosive hazards both on land and at sea. The Korean War saw a return to action on various minesweepers ensuring the continual clearance of shipping hazards. Additionally, the now renamed Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Units took part in inland intelligence operations and interacted with ground-based units in Inchon, Wonson and throughout the United Nations Theater of operations.
The Vietnam War saw an increase in overall participation by EOD units. Units from EOD Group Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii deployed throughout the region. EODGRUPAC was composed of Mobile Unit, Shipboard Unit and Training and Evaluation Unit personnel. Deployed teams onboard ships at sea were composed of one officer and two enlisted men. Teams in-country were larger and were based from the Mekong Delta (RIVFLOT 1) to DaNang. With an overall emphasis in sea and riverine mine clearance operations, these teams ensured the continued safety for shipping and maritime operations.
Since the close of the Vietnam War, the ever-changing world situation and increased operational tasking have prompted the expansion of EOD units in number, size and capabilities. Their impressive record in recent history includes the Gulf War where EOD Technicians cleared in excess of 500 naval mines. EOD was the critical element in eliminating unexploded ordnance from the USS Stark (FFG-31) after two Exocet anti-ship missiles fired from an Iraqi aircraft hit her. EOD developed render safe procedures on-site to prevent a catastrophe. During joint operations in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, EOD provided safety and operational continuity by eliminating booby traps, weapons caches, and performing mine clearance operations. EOD units are presently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq where they are supporting the global war against terrorism, destroying tons of post war ordnance and reducing the threat imposed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) that have plagued both countries. Forward deployed and fully integrated within the various Special Operations units within the U.S. Navy and Army, the present day EOD technician has changed greatly from that first Mine Recovery class of 1941. But one thing that has never changed is the level of professionalism and dedication that has been the cornerstone of the program.
Becoming an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician is no easy process. While the rigorous 51 weeks of training are both physically and mentally grueling, you will be rewarded with unrivaled leadership opportunities, first-rate compensation and respect.
After two months of recruit training in Great Lakes, Illinois, your Explosive Ordnance Disposal training will begin. The typical training schedule for new recruits is divided into five distinct phases:
PHASE 1: EOD PREP COURSE OF INSTRUCTION
The EOD training pipeline starts with three weeks of preparatory training in Great Lakes, Illinois. The candidate will work on swim stroke development, long range swims and physical conditioning.
PHASE 2: DIVER TRAINING
EOD candidates will attend nine weeks of dive school held at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center (NDSTC) in Panama City, Florida. Training will begin with basic concepts of scuba diving as well as dive physics, physiology and basic dive medicine. Candidates also learn about the various kinds of equipment, such as the MK16 underwater rebreather.
PHASE 3: BASIC EOD SCHOOL
At 42 weeks, Basic EOD School is the longest phase of the training process. After successful completion of dive school, candidates transfer to Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal School at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. This training is broken down into four sections, each teaching how to render-safe or defuse specific types of ordnance. These are:
- Air Ordnance Division — Focuses on bombs and missiles
- Improvised Explosive Devices — Includes “homemade bombs”
- Nuclear Ordnance Division — Covers basic nuclear physics and radiation monitoring and decontamination procedures
- Underwater Ordnance Division — Emphasizes torpedoes and other underwater explosives as well as underwater search techniques
Upon completion of basic EOD school, graduates will attend three weeks of Basic Airborne Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, where candidates qualify as a basic parachutist. At “jump” school, EOD technicians learn the concepts of basic static line parachuting.
PHASE 5: EOD TACTICAL TRAINING
The final phase of EOD training is three weeks of EOD Tactical Training in San Diego, California. This will consist of helicopter insertion (fast-rope, rappel, cast and special patrol insertion and extraction rigging), small arms/weapons training, small unit tactics (weapons, self-defense, land navigation and patrolling) and tactical communications (satellite and high frequency).
Upon completion of the EOD training, graduates are assigned to EOD Mobile Units where they gain advanced on-the-job training and experience as members of Mobile Teams, Carrier Strike Group/Expeditionary Strike Group Companies, Naval Special Warfare Companies and Marine Mammal Companies.
EOD technicians are offered a number of advanced training options to hone and specialize their skills. These include:
- Helicopter insertion training
- Basic parachute training and parachute water insertion training
- Advanced Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (AIEDD)
- Jumpmaster training
- Small unit tactics
- Small Arms Instructor
- Language school (Defense Language Institute)
- EOD Communications (tactical radio communications)
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Group One, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California
- EOD Mobile Unit One, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California
- EOD Mobile Unit Three, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California
- EOD Mobile Unit Five, Naval Base Guam
- EOD Mobile Unit Eleven, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Washington
- EOD Training and Evaluation Unit (TEU) One Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California
- Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) One, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
- EOD Operational Support Unit Seven, Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Group Two, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia
- EOD Mobile Unit Two, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia
- EOD Mobile Unit Six, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia
- EOD Mobile Unit Eight, Naval Station Rota Spain, Spain
- EOD Mobile Unit Twelve, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia
- EOD Training and Evaluation Unit (TEU) Two, Fort Story, Virginia
- Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) Two, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia
- EOD Operational Support Unit Ten, Fort Story, Virginia
- EOD Expeditionary Support Unit Two, Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia
Candidates may volunteer for EOD during basic training at Recruit Training Command, at “A” school, or at any time during their enlistment prior to their 31st birthday.
- Males and females are eligible
- Eyesight 20/200 bilateral correctable to 20/25 with no color blindness
- Minimum Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) score AR+VE=109, MC=51 or GS+MC+EI=165
- Pass a medical exam for divers (Approved by Diving Medical Officer)
- 30 years of age or younger
- Pass a pressure test (for diving)
- One year without non-judicial punishment
- Must be a U.S. citizen and eligible for security clearance
You must also complete the Physical Screening Test Requirements:
- Perform a 500-yard swim using side or breaststroke in 14 minutes or faster (10-minute rest)
- Perform a minimum of 42 push-ups in 2 minutes (2-minute rest)
- Perform a minimum of 50 sit-ups in 2 minutes (2-minute rest)
- Perform a minimum of 6 dead-hang pull-ups: no time limit (10-minute rest)
- Run 1.5 miles in 12 minutes 45 seconds or faster
Additional requirements specific to Active Duty EOD Technician candidates include:
- 36 months of obligated service upon completion of training
- No non-judicial punishments or court martial convictions during the previous 12 months prior to application
- Meet medical standards as specified in the NAVMED P-117
- Meet minimum performance standards
- Pass a hyperbaric pressure tolerance test
- Be on board present command for two years
- Be screened by an EOD Officer or E-6 or above Master EOD Technician
- Be recommended by your current Commanding Officer