U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians from the Fort Drum, New York-based 754th Ordnance Company (EOD) supported the Vermont National Guard and U.S. Marine Corps during the range clearance mission on Camp Ethan Allen, Vermont. The mission gave the EOD Soldiers an opportunity to work with other services while testing their ability to communicate with Marine Corps aircrews. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. James R. Gamble)
Fort Drum Explosive Ordnance Disposal Soldiers support Marine Corps training in Vermont
Walter T. Ham IV
CAMP ETHAN ALLEN, Vt. (May 5, 2023) — U.S. Army explosive ordnance disposal technicians conducted an unexploded ordnance clearance operation on a Vermont National Guard base to support U.S. Marine Corps infantry training there.
Army EOD Soldiers from the Fort Drum, New York-based 754th Ordnance Company (EOD) supported the Vermont National Guard and U.S. Marine Corps during the range clearance mission on Camp Ethan Allen.
The 754th EOD Company “Yetis” are part of the 192nd EOD Battalion, 52nd EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military's premier all-hazards command.
From 19 bases in 16 states, Soldiers and Army civilians from 20th CBRNE Command take on the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency, and allied operations.
According to 1st Lt. Patrick M. Pearce, range clearance operation officer in charge from the 754th EOD Company, the Vermont National Guard asked the 10th Mountain Division (LI) for EOD support for a target insertion mission on the base to aid in U.S. Marine Corps infantry training.
Pearce said the EOD team was tasked with navigating three grid coordinates and clearing them of unexploded ordnance to enable U.S. Marine Corps pilots to safely drop targets.
“The operation was unique because it was our Army EOD team supporting the Vermont National Guard who had Marine Corps pilots flying on the targets,” said Pearce, who served in the U.S. Navy before becoming an Army EOD officer. “It also was unique because the team and I not only were conducting EOD operations but also sling load operations into an impact area.”
From the 754th EOD Company, Army EOD team leaders Staff Sgt. Gerard J. Gagne III and Staff Sgt. James R. Gamble participated in the range clearance operation.
The U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School command team recognized Pearce, Gagne, and Gamble with Army Achievement Medals for the operation.
In support of civil authorities, the 754th EOD Company responds to military munitions discovered on and off-post in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The 754th EOD company also previously served downrange in support of the Special Operations Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria from December 2018 to September 2019 and deployed to Tunisia for Exercise African Lion in 2022.
Following the operation, the Marines and National Guardsmen thanked the Army EOD techs for their work on the range and the Vermont National Guard invited the EOD team to conduct demolitions on their range and hold small-arms training on the base in the future.
Pearce said the clearance mission gave the EOD technicians an opportunity to work with other services while testing their ability to communicate with Marine Corps aircrews.
“It truly showed us how to remain adaptable and flexible,” Pearce said. “The highlight was the final drop of the last target into the impact area. It was instant job satisfaction to see the whole team working together to accomplish a complex mission. Our hard work led to the emplacement of mortar targets for U.S. Marine Corps infantry battalions to use for years to come.”
From destroying hand grenades to rendering safe improvised explosive devices, EOD technicians are the U.S. Army’s experts on explosive hazards.
(Ham serves as deputy director of Public Affairs with 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command)