5/3/2010 - EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- In a solemn ceremony under cloudy skies, 16 names were added to the memorial at the Kauffman Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training Complex May 1.
The names were those of members from all services who were killed in action last year while serving as EOD technicians in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Also remembered was Tech Sgt. Rick Palmer, an instructor at the Naval School, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, who passed away unexpectedly last year. The 41st annual memorial service gave family, friends and members of the EOD community, both past and present, a chance to remember the fallen.
The EOD Memorial Foundation president, Robert Fay, said the foundation maintains the memorial and uses money raised through corporate sponsorships and an annual auction to bring in the families of the fallen to the ceremony and provides scholarships for EOD spouses and children. They also validate the information needed before a name is added to the wall.
"We ask for service-specific information and documentation to meet the criteria that the individual was killed during an EOD incident," he said.
Navy Capt. Adam Guziewicz, NAVSOLEOD commander, said it was an honor to remember those fallen heroes who sacrificed all for their country. Ten were Navy, four were Air Force and two were Army. All went through the school to receive their EOD certification.
"They were all volunteers who didn't identify themselves by service," Captain Guziewicz said. "EOD technicians first share common traits and experiences that transcend their services."
Guest speaker, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, said he was overwhelmed being at the ceremony. He said that while the EOD community was small (approximately 7,000 personnel), they bring an enormous presence to the fight.
"We demand people who are leaders, who provide excellence in all capacities," he said. "In Central Command, not one convoy will move without EOD coverage. EOD is embedded with the Special Operation Forces and the Navy SEALS who don't get their job done without EOD.
Admiral Greenert went on to say that EOD technicians are key trainers for the Iraqi and Afghanistan police forces and their armies. He praised their physical strength, endurance, mental concentration and intelligence.
"EOD men and women have a special ethos and unconditional trust in their team and themselves; their motto is 'initial success or total failure.' These are the people who run to danger; they don't run away from danger."
The admiral concluded his remarks by recognizing the families for giving the Department of Defense such special heroes and assured those present that they didn't die in vain.
"We may never know the countless number of lives they saved doing their job," he said. "Their legacy will never diminish, never fade."
5/30/2010 1:23:15 PM ET I know there must be a special place in Heaven for EOD. I have met many of these special young men and women over the years and I know them to be honorable and I feel the least well known by civilians of our Military. I am the Mother of an EOD Tech and also a Special Forces Soldiers Angel. All of my Seals are so very grateful for EOD presence. God Bless All of you and comfort the families of our fallen.Nancy Cowart, Austin Texas, Proud Mom of AFEOD TSGT Charles Cowart Longhorn Angel