Defusing Defeat: 3rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion competes for national recognition

By J.M. Simpson on May 22, 2014

The four plastic yellow jugs with the red tops have fuses running out of them.

Leaning next to the jugs was a canister full of nuts and bolts.

These were bombs of the homemade variety, and they all had to be defused.

"It's going to be a long day for the team that has to work this cache," said Staff Sgt. Michael Frechette, 3rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, as we stood in an underground bunker on Range 101.

"And if they make one mistake a buzzer will sound, meaning they made a mistake."

If the bombs were real, the mistake would be fatal.

"These teams have to be very careful and thorough," explained 1st Lt. Aaron Stutts as we left the bunker.

"It's what makes this competition as intense as it is."

Over the past several days, the 3rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion has been conducting an intensive ordnance disposal and military skills competition.

The battalion is assigned to the 71st Ordnance Group at Fort Carson, Colo.

>>> Four simulated bombs wait for a three-soldier team to defuse during the EOD Team of the Year Competition. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

Over the past several months, the battalion has been conducting team and individual-level military training to prepare for the competition.

The competition's events include a physical fitness test, a 10-mile ruck march, a casualty evacuation from a minefield, an improvised explosive land, an unexploded chemical ordnance lane, a suicide vest situation and weapons marksmanship.

"It is intense, no doubt about it," commented 1st Lt. Kurt Peterson, the battalion's public affairs officer.

"These soldiers are repeatedly put to the test."

Three teams of three soldiers faced one different problem after another.  On each challenge their skills were judged and points tallied.

The team with the most points would win the competition and move on to Fort Carson to compete in the 71st Group competition.

"The team that goes on to represent JBLM on the national level, and that speaks of us," Stutts said.