NEWS | July 20, 2018

A Day in the Life of EOD

By Capt. Melanie Nelson U.S. Army Central

Three years ago, Zachary Meyer sat in an Army recruiting office in Illinois. Growing up an Army brat, finding his way into the recruiting office was natural. But he wasn’t really interested in joining until he saw the Explosive Ordnance Disposal recruiting video.

“Wow, that is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen anybody do,” said Meyer to the recruiter.

Flash forward three years, U.S. Army Spc. Meyer is on his first overseas tour deployed with the 797th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas. On this day he stands in front of a junior enlisted promotion board in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, when his team’s emergency hotline goes off. It is the Area Support Group-Kuwait Security Force, an unexploded ordnance has been found on the corner of the camp and they have to move it.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Scott Cotner a team leader, leads Meyer out to the area that has been cordoned off. This will be Meyer’s first non-range unexploded ordnance (UXO) recovery. Cotner served with EOD teams for 12 years and still loves the job, especially when the calls are unique like this.

“As long as you have a basic understanding about ordnance, there’s nothing to be concerned about,” said Cotner.

They follow Army policy as they recover the ordnance. “The team leaders does the positive actions with the ordnance and the team member does the preparation work,” said Meyer. “We respect the ordnance.”

They prepare the UXO for transport to the Udairi Range Complex where it will be disposed of. The complex is a regular destination for the EOD.

“We ended up with over 120 UXOs responded to within the Udairi Range Complex,” said Capt. Matthew Vick, company commander, 797th EOD Co.

Over their nine-month deployment the 797th stayed actively engaged. They traveled to 12 countries, played a key role in multiple exercises and completed over 20 additional combat response missions throughout the Central Command Theater. They collaborated with numerous American and multi-national forces as well as the U.S. embassies in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

By the end of the month a new EOD team will fill the role of the CENTCOM Theater EOD Contingency Force. Transition time will allow commanders to hand off critical information. It will also allow time for Meyer and Cotner to share their lessons learned with the next Soliders who will carry around the UXO emergency hotline phone.

Meyer hopes to continue being mentored by leaders like Cotner back at Fort Hood. Both Soldiers see EOD as a part of their lives for a long time to come.