NEWS | March 1, 2019

Joint Effort Helps Destroy Unserviceable Ammunition

By Sgt. Zachary Mott U.S. Army Central

A bright, orange rose blossomed as 6,800 pounds of unserviceable ammunition was destroyed through a controlled detonation in Kuwait’s Udairi Range complex, Feb. 27, 2019.

Service members from six different units and two services joined together to deliver, unload, stage, prep and ultimately destroy the nearly three-and-a-half tons of ammunition ranging from 40 mm grenades to two mine clearing line charges. 

Soldiers from Task Force Spartan’s 705th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 637th Chemical Company, along with the Air Force’s 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron and 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron worked to arrange and prep the munitions after Soldiers from the 1245th Transportation Company brought the munitions and the 890th Transportation Company unloaded the ammunition.

“I enjoy it. I’ve seen quite a few (controlled detonations),” said Sgt. Barry Craig, an EOD team sergeant with the 705th EOD Co., Task Force Hellhound.

“The (white phosphorus) always makes for a good shot. We’re actually kind of excited about this one. This one should be pretty loud.”

Disposing of unserviceable ammunition is a regular mission for the EOD techs with Task Force Spartan. During the 705th EOD Company’s current deployment they have safely destroyed more than 30,000 pounds of ordnance. 

“This provides a great training opportunity for the Soldiers to hone their skills,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kody Williams, operations noncommissioned officer and range officer-in-charge, 705th EOD Co. “This is our bread and butter. This is what we do.”

With several controlled detonations occurring during their time here, the 705th EOD Co. is able to rotate Soldiers through the different roles as well as integrate with other units and sister services.

“From top down, it provides a lot of opportunity. It gives guys the ability to plan not only the convoy for the mission to come out here but also the ability to be an NCOIC or an OIC so you have a chance to take charge and see how a lot of moving parts can really affect the mission,” Craig said.

Additionally, by incorporating the Ohio Army National Guard’s 637th Chem. Co., the active duty Soldiers from the 705th EOD Co. are able to build a working relationship within the same task force.

“We like to bring them out and give them an idea of how we work and the stuff that we do,” Craig said. “There are times we actually do respond to a chem incident so we might actually work with them in the future on something that is more in their realm. Building that relationship with them prior to an actual serious incident is important.”

Incorporating Air Force EOD technicians also allows the 705th to share best practices and rekindle working relationships that were established in training years ago.

“The EOD community is pretty small and we all go to school together. From day one we’re pretty much stuck with the environment with each other,” Craig said. “It’s nice to come out here and see some familiar faces that you saw maybe two, three or more years ago. We try to keep that relationship as well. It’s really important for the EOD community to stay tight.”

Additionally, by safely disposing of unserviceable ordnance, the 705th EOD Co. is able to free up space within local ammunition holding areas.

“We’ve cleared out the ASP (ammunition supply point) here on (Camp) Buehring,” Williams said. “I deal with the ASP manager quite a bit and this is the first time it’s been cleared out in a long time.”

When the dust settled from the detonation, the EOD teams combed through the site to ensure there was nothing left that could cause damage to anyone who happened across it – all part of a day’s work as an EOD tech.

“EOD is a great job and I enjoy every minute of it. It’s a chance to learn about explosives and who doesn’t like that?” Craig said.