74th EOD Co. wins USARPAC Team of the Year competition two years running

| July 22, 2016 | 0 Comments
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii- Staff Sgt. Nathan Hodges, explosive ordnance disposal team leader, 716th EOD Co., 303rd EOD Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, waits for a Black Hawk to land during the U.S. Army-Pacific EOD Team of the Year competition, July 11-15. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill, 8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Staff Sgt. Nathan Hodges, explosive ordnance disposal team leader, 716th EOD Co., 303rd EOD Bn., 8th MP Bde., 8th TSC, waits for a Black Hawk to land during the USARPAC EOD Team of the Year competition.

 

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill
8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs
8th Theater Sustainment Command

 

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — The best U.S. Army-Pacific Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams gathere, here, July 11-15, to compete in the annual EOD Team of the Year competition.

The weeklong event, hosted by the 303rd EOD Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Sustainment Theater, showcased USARPAC’s best EOD teams from Hawaii, Alaska and Korea. From basic Soldiering skills to real-world training exercises, all four teams had to push themselves past their physical and mental limits to make it through the competition each day.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii- Staff Sgt. Nathan Hodges, explosive ordnance disposal team leader, 716th EOD Co., 303rd EOD Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, carefully cuts through a person-borne improvised explosive device during the U.S. Army-Pacific EOD Team of the Year competition, July 11-15. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill, 8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Hodges carefully cuts through a person-borne improvised explosive device during the competition.

“Having one problem after another was physically and mentally challenging,” said Staff Sgt. Benjamin Barlow, team leader, 74th EOD Company, 303rd EOD Bn. “We just had to take it one problem at a time.”

Unlike most events where the competitors are told their scores after an event, the EOD Team of the Year competition adds to the pressure with the unknown by keeping the scores from the teams until the very end.

“It was tough,” said Spc. Catherine Davis, team member, 74th EOD Co. “Not knowing how well we did after an event really forced us to keep moving forward and to stay motivated every day.”

Davis said she enjoys the physical and mental challenges being an EOD specialist gives her and competing in the TOY was another way to use the skills she has learned.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii- Staff Sgt. Wayne Malone, explosive ordnance disposal team leader, 718th EOD Co., U.S. Forces Korea, marks a path through a training landmine field during the U.S. Army-Pacific EOD Team of the Year competition, July 11-15. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill, 8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Staff Sgt. Wayne Malone, team leader, 718th EOD Co., U.S. Forces Korea, marks a path through a training landmine field.

“I’m a very hands-on type of person,” said Davis. “You have to be able to think on your feet and make quick decisions. I love it.”

The competition tested the four teams with an array of events ranging from a fitness test to marksmanship with several different weapons, ordnance identification, unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devise procedures, a written test and an information brief.

Staff Sgt. Benjamin Barlow, explosive ordnance disposal team leader, 74th EOD Co., 303rd EOD Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, uses a hot stick in a training scenario to place a bomb inside a car during the U.S. Army-Pacific EOD Team of the Year competition, July 11-15. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill, 8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Staff Sgt. Benjamin Barlow, EOD team leader, 74th EOD Co., 303rd EOD Bn., uses a hot stick in a training scenario to place a bomb inside a car.

Command Sgt. Maj. Johnny Strickland, senior enlisted adviser, 303rd EOD Bn., said that not only do the teams have to be technical experts; they also need to know how to communicate.

As emergency responders, communication is a crucial skill set that all EOD Soldiers need to have in order to work as a cohesive team and to work with the other agencies that arrive on a scene.

“They have to be able to talk and tell their story,” said Strickland.

The EOD TOY competition proved to be intensely competitive with just a few points separating second and third place. However, it was 74th EOD Co. who emerged victorious and took first place for the second year in a row.

“I’m very proud of the 74th and I hope the other teams got some good training they can take back with them,” said Strickland. “I hope to see them again next year.”

 

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii- Team members from 716th EOD Co., 303rd EOD Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, lift a bomb using a pulley system after defusing it during the U.S. Army-Pacific EOD Team of the Year competition, July 11-15. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill, 8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

Team members from 716th EOD Co., 303rd EOD Bn. lift a bomb using a pulley system after defusing it during the U.S. Army-Pacific EOD Team of the Year competition.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Category: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *