EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (NNS) -- The Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (NAVSCOLEOD) here, held a memorial dedication ceremony at the Boatman Advanced EOD Training Facility April 2.
The dedication served in recognizing those who served in Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) Troy, Iraq, and honoring Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians who made the ultimate sacrifice during Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.
"This memorial is dedicated to remembering all those who served in Troy during a decade of irregular combat and counter insurgency operations," said Capt. Joseph Polanin, commanding officer of NAVSCOLEOD. "Their unsurpassed commitment, tireless dedication, and bold vision made the idea of a counter-IED task force a vibrant reality. That is what Troy was all about. It evolved rapidly to continually defeat the enemy's weapon of choice, the IED. It succeeded due to good people sacrificing much and because just and worthy causes were pursued with tenacity and courage."
CJTF Troy was established in 2005 as the first operational counter-IED task force in U.S. military history. It was staffed by joint service EOD technicians and diverse subject matter experts to integrate U.S. and multinational counter-IED capabilities, to protect U.S. and coalition forces, and to advise and assist Iraqi security forces. CJTF Paladin is a similar task force in Afghanistan.
"CJTF Troy provided counter-IED expertise and support to U.S. forces through training, recommending materiel solutions, and weapons technical intelligence collection and exploitation to defeat IED networks," said Capt. Edward Eidson, commander of CJTF Troy from Dec. 2010 to Sept. 2011 and current commander of EOD Group One. "We were also the first Navy headquarters to act as the core staff for the Joint Task Force."
CJTF Troy was disestablished on Sept. 1, 2011. EOD Technicians from all four services left Troy to serve at other commands and staffs where they continue to defeat IEDs and deter emerging threats from terrorists, violent extremists, or other potential adversaries across the globe. Eidson noted that due directly to their efforts, the enduring concept of a counter-IED task force is now part of joint doctrine.
"Regardless of our service specialties, collectively, our weapon system is our mind and our body," said Eidson. "We equip the man instead of manning equipment and our success is dependent on our ability to out-think our opponent. At the individual level, that means we must succeed every time. Our enemy only has to succeed once."
Builder 1st Class Donald Wintersteen was the primary force behind the construction of the display case that surrounds the items from the original memorial at CJTF Troy in Baghdad, Iraq, which includes boots, a helmet, a demilitarized M-16 rifle, and dog tags from each of the fallen EOD Technicians that hang from the grip of the rifle.
"From planning the display case to the building and staining, I spent more than 100 hours on it," said Wintersteen. "I've been building things like this for the past 20 years. It was an honor doing this and as I set up the display, I read the names on each set of dog tags as I hung them on the rifle."
The CJTF Troy memorial will be on permanent display at the Boatman AEOD training facility quarterdeck for all students and visitors to see and serve as an enduring reminder for all to contemplate the tenacity and resolve of those who established Troy. Polanin noted that it will convey the eternal memory of EOD Technicians whose ultimate sacrifices provided our liberty. They personify the ethos of quiet professionalism which is the hallmark of the EOD community, a 72-year legacy of valor.
NAVSCOLEOD is home to the Advanced Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Disposal course, which teaches advanced tactics, techniques, and procedures to experienced joint service EOD technicians and select U.S. Government personnel.
Students in the AIED course are challenged in dynamic scenarios to diagnose, disable, contain, and dispose of sophisticated IEDs and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in realistic and complex environments.
NAVSCOLEOD provides high-risk, specialized, basic and advanced EOD training to more than 2,100 U.S. and partner nation military and selected U.S. government personnel each year. NAVSCOLEOD is also home to the EOD Memorial in Niceville, Fla., dedicated to all EOD service members killed in action since 1941.
For more information about the Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal, visit the NAVSCOLEOD website: https://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/ceneoddive/eods/