June 20, 2014, WASHINGTON (AFNS) – Military explosive ordnance disposal technicians and their civilian counterparts gathered on Capitol Hill June 11, to educate members of Congress about their mission and capabilities during EOD Day on the Hill.
“This is an annual congressional event supported by multi-service EOD personnel and bomb disposal technicians,” said Senior Master Sgt. Alex Morgan III, the Air Force District of Washington EOD functional manager. “This serves as an opportunity for us to educate Congress on EOD capabilities to detect, identify, field evaluate, render-safe, recover, and exploit capabilities and to explain our structure within the Air Force.”
The venue could not have contrasted more from the environment these experts typically operate in. The ornate room with crystal chandeliers housed EOD technicians from each military branch along with members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Capitol Hill and other bomb disposal teams.
“We are here to explain the goodness of this national treasure called the EOD forces,” said Eugene Squires, the National Defense Industrial Association EOD committee chairman and retired Army EOD sergeant major. “EOD is unique … EOD can’t be mass produced after a crisis.”
The House EOD Caucus informed congressional members and staff about how EOD forces protect the nation’s interests and citizens at home and abroad. They also stressed the importance of preserving the EOD force structure, funding the baseline EOD budget and keeping the faith with EOD service members.
“I’m en ex-Army EOD guy so obviously it is close to home for me,” said Congressman Rick Crawford, 1st Congressional District of Arkansas. “I think in general terms the EOD community is a vital key enabler. But I don’t think they have had a very good collective voice. So we set about here in Congress to get a Caucus that could advocate for EOD forces in general on a more concerted basis and bring more awareness to what EOD is.”
Representatives from the EOD Warrior Foundation manned a table to ensure attendees were aware of the services their organization provides. The group, with staff in three states and numerous ambassadors around the country, strives to support injured EOD technicians and their family members throughout the recovery process.
“We have a core focus here, the community we support is here,” said Nichole Motsek, the foundation’s executive director. “We want to let them know how we support them and that we exist. We jump at any opportunity we can to let all four branches know we exist.”
Members of the non-profit organization assist active-duty and veteran wounded, injured or ill EOD warriors, families of wounded and fallen EOD warriors, and maintain the EOD Memorial Wall at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. In addition, they strive to educate people about what EOD technicians do on a daily basis.
“(People) need to know how dangerous and critical the mission of EOD is,” Motesk said.