This EOD Tech Was Blinded By A Landmine. Now He’s One Of The Best Swimmers In The World

An excerpt:

After losing his vision to a landmine, Brad Snyder was determined to prove he wasn’t a victim of his circumstances.

“I’m dead.” The thought settled on Brad Snyder in the middle of a cloud of dust and smoke raised by the blast of a homemade land mine. He lay in the fetal position on a patch of grass next to a ravine in southern Afghanistan. The Navy lieutenant couldn’t make out any blood through the haze. His arms and legs were still attached. He didn’t know anyone who’d survived one of these explosions with all of their limbs intact.

An instant earlier, Snyder had rushed past the patrol’s Navy SEALs and Afghan commandos with a stretcher for two Afghans torn apart by a similar device. He heard a loud pop. The blast slammed him backward and bent his rifle across his body armor. The world sounded like a flatlining heart monitor.

All of this had to mean death. A short-lived wave of euphoria and sadness followed the realization. Time seemed to stop. Snyder waited for his father or grandfather — both deceased — to appear and show him the way into the next life.

Pain jolted Snyder back to reality. His right eye didn’t work. The left one wasn’t much better. His face felt shredded. His hands hurt. A sharp ringing in his right ear welcomed him back to life.

Snyder tried to stem growing panic. He’d figured that his luck would run out one of these days in this scrap of Afghanistan near Kandahar choked with improvised explosive devices and rough terrain. Snyder and a fellow explosive ordnance disposal officer were in front of each patrol with metal detectors, responsible for guiding the SEAL platoon they were attached to through the region’s dangerous maze. The stress never seemed to end...

Blowing Up The Glass Ceiling: The Untold Story Of The Military's First Female Bomb Technician

An excerpt:

But from the beginning, she didn’t quite fit in. The majority of women joined the WAF for clerical or nursing positions. Not Cox. “We’ve never had a woman score so high on the mechanical test,” the recruiter told her. So instead of going to the secretary pool, she learned to operate a printing press at the prairie outpost of Grand Forks, North Dakota. One evening, while hanging out in the women-only barracks, her good friend Peggy McCormick handed her an advertisement for a job called explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). Cox had never heard of it, but the page said EOD was short volunteers and paid an extra $55 a month.

“Bet you won’t do that,” McCormick said. All she knew was that EOD was dangerous and somehow involved bombs.

“Bet I will!” Cox said.

“I dare ya,” McCormick said.

That’s all it took. The nation created its first female bomb technician on a dare.

Cox was done printing newspapers. She would make it through EOD School, survive the ridicule of narrow-minded officers and the unwanted attention of journalists and the women’s liberation movement. She broke every glass ceiling in Air Force EOD: first to lead her own unit, first to go to war, first to be awarded a Bronze Star, first to hold the highest enlisted rank of chief master sergeant.

EOD Warrior Foundation Seeks EOD Tech in Need of Assistance Dog

NICEVILLE, Florida – (August 1, 2016) – Many EOD technicians need assistance when they return home from combat. Those who suffer from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often find that service dogs bring relief, others who have physical injuries, including amputations, blindness, and many others, may find benefit in having a service dog for multiple reasons. The EOD Warrior Foundation is partnering with MADE in Texas Assistance Dogs to provide an EOD technician in need with a fully trained service dog.  This dog is being donated in honor of former U.S. Navy EOD officer, Commander Kevin Childre, who passed away in May 2015 as a result of a bicycle accident while on a ride raising awareness for the EOD Warriors Foundation.

“We are pleased to work with MADE in Texas Assistance Dogs to find a fitting home for this beautiful animal, and a deserving EOD technician,” explains Nicole Motsek, executive director of the EOD Warrior Foundation. “We are also thrilled to honor Kevin, who meant so much to the country and did so much for our foundation. Kevin was a true dog lover and I feel this is a great way to honor his memory.”

Kevin Childre was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technician who started the annual 2-Day EOD Undefeated Bike Ride in 2009 to support the EOD community, which quickly became the largest fundraiser for the EOD Warrior Foundation, raising almost $1.3 million in support of EOD families in its six year history. While on a 6-day bicycle ride to raise awareness for the cause he was in a fatal accident. The annual ride continues in four cities across the country this fall in his honor.

Wanting to honor his memory, MADE in Texas Assistance Dogs began training a goldendoodle puppy to become an assistance dog.  Kevin’s last dog was also a beautiful goldendoodle named Tucker.  The puppy currently in training is named KC, in honor of Kevin Childre. KC will finish training this fall and will be ready to be paired with an EOD technician in need. The EOD Warrior Foundation is working with MADE to provide the selected candidate with travel and accommodations to meet KC.

“We believe in what Kevin did for our country and feel this is a great way to honor him,” explained Hailey Jumper Mauldin, founder and executive director of MADE in Texas Assistance Dogs. “Helping fellow EOD technicians was Kevin’s life and KC will help continue the mission in Kevin’s honor. We are thrilled to be a part of this legacy.”

EOD technicians who are interested in KC can apply online at the MADE in Texas Assistance Dogs site: http://www.madeintexasassistancedogs.org.

There are over 7,000 men and women in the U.S. military who serve as EOD techs. They have one of the most dangerous jobs in the military, helping to defuse and dispose of explosive devices. They are highly trained members who are responsible for disarming, rendering safe, and disposing of bombs.

Since September 11, 2001, the EOD community has sustained serious loss of life and limbs. Since 9/11 and to date, 131 EOD Warriors have lost their lives on the battlefield, approximately 250 EOD Warriors have lost limbs, sight, experienced terrible burns, as well as paralysis, and numerous additional warriors continue to suffer from the invisible wounds of war, including traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress. The numbers of invisible injuries are unknown at this point and the suicide rate numbers are quickly approaching the number lost in combat.

About EOD Warrior Foundation

The EOD Warrior Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help EOD warriors and their family members to include families of fallen EOD warriors. Specific programs include emergency financial relief, college scholarships, hope and wellness retreats, and care of the EOD Memorial located at Eglin AFB, FL. To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, visit their site at: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org.

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Meet the Elite Air Force Bomb Squad That Defuses…Cannonballs from the Civil War

Meet the Elite Air Force Bomb Squad That Defuses…Cannonballs from the Civil War – Narratively

An excerpt:

Stateside, Swann and the 94th Civil Engineering Squadron from Dobbins Air Reserve Base, on the outskirts of Atlanta, face a very different threat. While they’re equipped to deal with a domestic terrorist act such as the Boston Marathon bombing or the Oklahoma City bombing, the vast majority of calls stem from everyday citizens who’ve stumbled upon weapons of long-ago wars – forgotten souvenirs from a tour of duty in Europe, Vietnam or the Middle East, “cool stuff” purchased from Ebay and Craigslist or relics found on rural Southern farms and pastures that were once battlefields. A typical example: Back in 2013, construction workers breaking ground on the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta inadvertently dug up a Civil-War era cannonball, which turned out to be a live round containing gunpowder and ball bearings.

Swann grabs his government flip phone and finds a quiet corner. Opening the aged device, he hears the voice of his superior officer. A man was spotted with an ordnance on the side of Panthersville Road, a rural byway just outside Dallas, mere minutes from where Swann now sits. The rest of the information is scant and vague: A military artillery round. Potentially live.

Myths and Truths About EOD Techs

Most people see movies that involve a hero, such as a bomb disposal expert, who works against the clock to defuse an explosive device just seconds before it detonates. While the reality is typically not what Hollywood depicts, the pressures and dangers, as well as the lives saved, are in fact part of the daily reality for over 7,000 men and women in the U.S. military. These men and women are Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians and there is a lot that people don’t know about the critical and lifesaving work these quiet professionals do.

EOD stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal, the disarming and disposal of bombs. EOD technicians are highly-trained military members serving in the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force who are responsible for disarming, rendering safe, and disposing of bombs. The EOD profession is the most dangerous occupation in the military. The men and women who do this job, willingly put themselves in harms ways to protect the lives and property of others. Their service includes support to the most complex special operations missions and the most destructive devices.

“Many people are impressed when they learn about the brave work of EOD warriors, yet find it difficult to understand exactly what it is that their job entails,” explains Nicole Motsek, executive director of the EOD Warrior Foundation. “The more people know and understand the dangers and critical importance of an EOD tech’s job, the easier it is to realize how important it is to support them, and all they do for our country.”

EOD warriors willingly walk towards an explosive device, while everyone else runs away. Here are some of the common myths and truths about military EOD technicians:

  • Myth – EOD’s job is glamorous. While every job in the military comes with its own set of risks and dangers, EOD technicians up the ante. EOD Warriors deal with the common threats of warfare and also have an increased level of stress when working on an unexploded bomb. Their mission is to protect others, requiring precision and nerves of steel.
  • Myth – All EOD technicians are men. While the majority of EOD Warriors are men, there are indeed women serving as combat EOD technicians, in the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force.
  • Myth - EOD technicians are heavily rewarded for their additional risks. Many people assume that with the risks comes a super-high salary. The truth is that being an EOD tech is a volunteer position. While it comes with a small “danger pay” stipend, EOD technicians are still paid based on the rank and years of service like all other military personnel.
  • Myth - EOD techs only defuse bombs. While defusing bombs is the primary mission of EOD personnel, EOD technicians are also proficient in parachuting, diving, and forensic evidence collection.
  • Myth - Bomb disposal is about cutting the “red” wire. Movies love to show the intensity against the counting down clock, a bunch of multi-colored wires, and sweat dripping off the end of the nose. The truth is that most bomb disposal is done remotely and cutting wires is absolutely the last resort.

“EOD Warriors are an incredible group of men and women, who sacrifice a great deal for our country,” added Motsek. “Raising awareness about their work is one of the most important things we can do. In current conflicts, bombs known as improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are responsible for the majority of fatalities and severe injuries to our troops. Without EOD warriors, many more would die as a result of these dangerous weapons.”

Since September 11, 2001, the EOD community has sustained serious loss of life and limbs. Since 9/11 and to date, 131 EOD Warriors have lost their lives on the battlefield, approximately 250 EOD Warriors have lost limbs, sight, and suffered traumatic brain injuries, burns, and paralyses. The numbers of invisible injuries are unknown at this point and the suicide rate numbers are quickly approaching the number lost in combat.

About EOD Warrior Foundation
The EOD Warrior Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help EOD warriors and their family members to include families of fallen EOD warriors. Specific programs include emergency financial relief, college scholarships, hope and wellness retreats, and care of the EOD Memorial located at Eglin AFB, FL. To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, visit their site at: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org.

EODWF Cares for EOD Caregivers

You know your fundraising donations go to support the EOD Warrior Foundation which serves the families of wounded, ill, and fallen EOD Techs. But you might not know what that support looks like.

Following is an excerpt from The Blaster News, Quarter 3 newsletter from EOD Warrior Foundation about one area of support.

We had the pleasure of hosting twelve EOD Caregiver Spouses in the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee in August for a memorable healing retreat.

This was the second retreat of its kind, partnering once again with with the like-minded nonprofit Courage Beyond. Their team works collaboratively with ours to formulate a retreat specifically addressing the needs and wants unique to each group. Miracle workers we are not , rather conversation starters, a safe space for each attendee to share her story, listening, and providing tools for these women to take back home.

The sole purpose of the retreats is to provide time for our participants to process how their lives have been impacted by their partners going to war. We strongly believe that bringing people together who have shared many of the same challenges. and providing them with an opportunity to express their frustrations, pain and struggles, allows them to they are not alone in this journey.  That knowledge alone provides an incredibly powerful sense of relief.

Retreat for EOD - Courage Beyond

http://couragebeyond.org/services-2/retreat-eod/