New name added during 54th annual EOD Memorial

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EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Dressed in the bright whites, deep blues and dense blacks of their service uniforms, Airmen, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers returned this year to honor and remember their fallen explosive ordnance disposal brethren May 6.

The annual memorial ceremony, in its 54th year, took place with military and community leadership, invited guests and the EOD community at the Kauffman EOD Training Complex here.

The schoolhouse’s commander, Navy Capt. Steven Beall, welcomed guests and explained why they return to the memorial on the first Saturday of May each year.  This specific Saturday is designated National EOD Day.

EOD technicians are bound by a purpose and share an unspoken bond that only comes from selfless service to others,” said Beall.  “We will never forget those who come before us.  We will never forget their bravery, courage and sacrifice.”

Only one name was added to the wall this year.  Navy Lt. J.G. Aaron Fowler lost his life in 2022 at Kaneohe Bay, Marine Corps Base Hawaii.  Fowler’s parents, Charles and Lou-Ann, were on hand to see their son’s name enshrined on the wall.

Each year, a wreath is placed in front of each branch of service's list of names before they are read aloud.  Each list is completed with the phrase “We remember,” and the names simultaneously saluted by an enlisted and officer EOD member.

“Today, we’re recognizing those 344 names that are on this wall,” said Brig. Gen. Forrest Poole, Marine Corps Assistant Deputy Commandant for Installations and Logistics and the guest speaker for the ceremony.  “Each one represents a sacrifice and a hole left in someone’s life.”

The ceremony concluded with an honor guard rifle volley and the playing of Taps.  Afterward, families and EOD technicians both past and present descended upon the Wall for pictures, to touch the engraved brass name or just remember a fallen hero.