One day, they're parachuting from 17,000 feet. The next, they're diving miles away from land. They disarm explosives, clear waterways of mines and control the military's latest robot technology. Although their lives may sometimes resemble a video game, their work is very real. They are the Navy's EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Team, a bunch of people who just might have the most intense job on the planet.
EOD technicians are dispatched in mobile teams to safely dispose of explosives around the world. Experts in all types of explosives, both old and ultra-modern, they can disarm a bomb in the most extreme circumstances. The nature of their work means they team up with everyone from Army Special Forces to the Secret Service to local police bomb squads. Although their jobs are among the most dangerous on earth, many EOD technicians return for multiple tours of duty, because they enjoy the camaraderie that comes from entrusting their lives to each other every day. Think of a sports team with extreme esprit de corps.
What does it take to become a member of this special team? After basic recruit training, EOD technicians spend over a year in intense preparation. They begin in Great Lakes, Ill. with a three-week EOD Preparatory Course, which is mostly spent underwater. Next comes a nine-week dive school in Panama City, Fla. After that, recruits go to Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. for almost a year, where they immerse themselves in all types of explosives, from nuclear devices to homemade bombs. Finally, they wrap up their training with parachuting and helicopter insertion.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal isn't easy, but it is tremendously rewarding—like being a team player on a great team. Learn more about the Navy's specialized EOD team at eod.navy.mil.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock