FORT STORY, Va. (NNS) -- Two Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit 8 in Sigonella, Sicily, won honors as the East Coast's top EOD technicians here Oct. 29 at the first Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Top-Tech Challenge.
Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician (EWS) Jarrod Deines and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class (EWS) Justin Mayo, both from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 8, won the honors after the three-day contest.
Explosive Ordnance and Disposal Training and Evaluation Unit (TEU) 2 hosted the contest. Participants included three teams from EOD Mobile Unit 2 in Virginia Beach; EOD Mobile Unit 8, Detachment Rota; and the team from Sigonella.
"Top Tech exists to reinforce those perishable skills and capabilities we develop every day inside Navy EOD," said Cmdr. Tom Smith, commanding officer of EOD TEU 2."It provides us with an opportunity to celebrate how far the community has come in tactics, technology and training since [EODs] inception during World War II."
The contest proved timely as these EOD experts prepare for eventual deployments. Events included improvised explosive device (IED) disruption, diving, rappelling, ordnance detection and disposal, and a Navy EOD diver physical qualification test. Teams' scores were derived from timed events, with penalties for any procedural mistakes or safety violations.
"This gives us the opportunity to practice here, where it's safe and the cost is just points, rather than out on a deployment where making a mistake could cost lives," said Lt. j.g. Eric Hui, officer in charge of Detachment 16, EOD Mobile Unit 2.
In addition to reinforcing training and honing critical skills, Smith said the event allowed participants to focus on the EOD Warrior Ethos, which is made up of the community's values, beliefs, and personal and professional character, all of which focus on making EOD technicians ready for the missions they are called to support.
"[The competition] was good for us; it was hard," said Mayo. "The guys that put the competition on did a phenomenal job. Every mission area had its own difficulties."
The Fort Story-based EOD TEU 2's training curriculum increases techs' capability, survivability and combat readiness so their detachments are ready for any real-world challenge or threat, including improvised explosive devices. According to the Department of Defense, IEDs account for a significant percent of all service members killed and injured in Iraq.
Next year, TEU 2 hopes to include the Pacific Fleet EOD units in the Top Tech contest. EOD units on both coasts are now part of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC). NECC brings EOD, Naval Coastal Warfare, Riverine forces, Combat Camera Atlantic, the Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center, Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support functions and the Seabees under one umbrella. NECC integrates all warfighting requirements for expeditionary combat and combat support elements. This transformation allows for standardized training, manning and equipping of Sailors who will participate in the maritime security operations and the global war on terrorism as part of the joint force.
For more information on the Navy EOD community, contact a Navy Command Career Counselor or visit the Web at www.eod.navy.mil.
For more news from around the fleet, visit www.navy.mil.