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EOD Units Return Safely

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS091020-04
Release Date: 10/20/2009 9:26:00 AM

From Commander, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 1 Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Fifty-eight Sailors, Airmen and Soldiers assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3 (EODMU-3) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit 1 (EODESU-1) returned to Naval Air Station North Island Oct. 18 following a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan.

While deployed the headquarters element was based in Southern Afghanistan in direct support of Commander, Joint Task Force Paladin and provided command and control for coalition forces and counter-improvised explosive device (IED) teams.

The team successfully conducted over 1,000 missions to render safe and dispose of 570 IEDs. They covered more than 24,000 kilometers of road to respond to weapons caches, post blast investigations and conducted 550 route clearance patrols.

"The Task Force and EOD team saved hundreds of people's lives, for both Afghanistan and Coalition forces," said EODMU-3 Commanding Officer Cmdr. George Byford.

Having a strong unit that works well together is important. EOD technicians go through vigorous training and understand the importance of their job.

"I had an outstanding team working for me," said Byford. "They were uniquely awesome."

While Navy EOD has been deploying platoons for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom since 2001 and has been deploying mobile units as command and control elements since 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This was the first Navy EOD battalion deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Working with the coalition forces was a great experience," added Command Master Chief Thomas Rebis.

Byford stated how wonderful it was to be back home, and how they will be thinking about Mobile Unit 11 who relieved them. EODMU-11 left earlier this month and will continue the mission.

EOD technicians are deployed throughout U.S. Central Command and are called upon to render safe conventional ordnance, neutralize IEDs, landmines, and weapons of mass destruction (WMD), as well as conduct force protection diving and underwater mine countermeasures.

U.S. Navy EOD is the world's premier combat force for countering IEDs, WMDs, and all other types of weaponry. An elite team of warriors, Navy EOD Technicians are the "first in" – enabling access for further combat operations in every environment – on the ground, in the air and under the sea.

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