Odierno honors fallen EOD heroes

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (May 5, 2014) — Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal hosted the 45th Annual Explosive Ordnance Disposal Memorial Ceremony at the EOD Memorial next to the Kauffman EOD Training Complex here, Saturday.

The EOD community from all four Services gathered to remember the historical legacy of 298 EOD heroes as well as to add an additional eight EOD Technicians to the EOD Memorial (four Soldiers and four Marines) who recently gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno delivered a poignant speech that characterized the extraordinary efforts and critical aspects of these EOD heroes and the EOD mission, as well as the immeasurable sacrifice of their families.

“This memorial represents 72 years of service by the EOD community,” Odierno said. “From World War II onward, we pay tribute to the men and women who volunteered to serve for one of the most dangerous missions in our profession, that of personnel protection and explosives identification, disarmament, and demolition. This memorial celebrates the professionalism, selfless service and sacrifices of our EOD heroes in operations at home and abroad. In times of war and in times of peace, these EOD technicians and leaders protected our fellow service members by accomplishing our mission each day. This morning, we recognize eight service members whose names will be placed alongside those of 298 Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

The four Service Detachment commanders and senior enlisted advisers from the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal, or NAVSCOLEOD, placed a wreath next to their respective service’s cenotaph on the EOD Memorial, while a fellow service member read the names of their fallen EOD heroes aloud, concluding with the phrase “We Remember.” The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James F. Amos, presented a flag (previously flown over the EOD Memorial) to each of the families of the four fallen Marines, and Brig. Gen. JB Burton, commander of the U.S. Army 20th CBRNE Command, presented a flag (previously flown over the EOD Memorial) to each of the families of the four Soldiers.

“We Remember” signifies the very essence and ethos of EOD technicians to never forget the extraordinary efforts and sacrifices of our EOD brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice. The EOD Memorial stands as an amazing monument to the honor, courage, and commitment exemplified by EOD Technicians from all four services as they performed the EOD mission.

“EOD technicians of all services make a solemn promise when we enter the EOD community that we will never forget,” said Capt. William Noel, commanding officer of NAVSCOLEOD. “We will never forget those heroes who have gone before us, their bravery, courage, and their ultimate sacrifice. New EOD technicians who graduate each week at this school in front of this memorial share this promise and vow to carry on this charge throughout their careers and years to come. Legacy and honoree families, we will never forget.”

Staff members from all four services at NAVSCOLEOD as well as members of the EOD Warrior Foundation coordinated and executed comprehensive preparations for the ceremony.

The EOD Memorial Foundation, established in 1969, merged with the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation, in March 2013, to form the EOD Warrior Foundation, which combines the missions and resources of these established organizations to increase the capacity to serve and support the joint service EOD community.

“Today we add eight new names to the EOD Memorial Wall, a memorial that ensures our fallen EOD warriors who have made the ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten,” said Nicole Motsek, executive director of EOD Warrior Foundation. “The Soldiers and Marines added today, and the 298 before them, are heroes, and it is an honor and privilege to preserve their legacy and continue to support their families.”