For explosive ordnance disposal technicians, disarming explosives, probing and searching for mines, and disposing of enemy ordnance is all part of the job.
“People are afraid of explosives because they don’t have the knowledge of how they work,” said Gunnery Sgt. Varavut Treme, an EOD technician for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. “This is what we train for, and this is what we do. You can’t let fear consume your concentration or it could mean the lives of others.”
Marines with EOD are constantly training, said Treme. Whether or not a technician is deployed, they are always learning new techniques and strategies to prepare for deployments.
“Our field isn’t limited to just a few narrowed-down job descriptions,” said Capt. Bryan E. Stotts, Base EOD officer in charge. “You could literally spend an entire career in this [Military Occupational Specialty] and discover something new every day.”
In addition to training for deployments, EOD technicians stationed on base are also on call for local situations involving explosives or other military ordnance.
The base EOD’s office, also known as “The Bomb Squad,” provides assistance and technical support to local law enforcement and government agencies, as well as responding to calls on base and providing rifle range security in the event of a misfire.
“Even when we’re not deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, our hands-on skills are still necessary on base,” said Stotts. “As an EOD tech, we need to have knowledge of all types of ammunition, explosives, mortars—you name it. You never know what someone might find. It’s our job to make sure that those items are disposed of safely and properly.”
Camp Pendleton is the home of five different EOD units, with base EOD being a “hands-on-library” for other Marines to come learn and understand the logistics behind explosives and other military ordnance. There, four rooms are decorated with weapons, bombs, mines, mortars and rounds all ranging from World War I.
“We don’t exactly call it a museum, although that’s what it may appear to be,” said Stotts. “It’s more of a hands-on training library where visitors can come and pick up the weapons and learn about them.”