January 7, 2017
The 221st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, based in Camp Blanding Joint Training Center, met their monthly military requirements through realistic training exercises, yesterday. The 221st EOD is the only explosive ordnance disposal team in the Florida Army National Guard giving them a mission unique compared to most other military units.
“Today, we’re focusing on scenario-based exercises on stateside explosive ordnance disposal, specifically an improvised explosive device call,” said Sgt. First Class Chad Curtis, a platoon sergeant with 221st EOD.
Because of the unit’s supporting mission to Camp Blanding as the training base’s EOD response team, the 221st must be ready to respond to hazards of conventional, biological, chemical and nuclear attacks, as well as improvised explosive devices.
“EOD is one of those fields that has responsibility for the post we support,” Curtis said. “We have a full spectrum of activity that we engage in but one of our core competencies is running scenario-based training making sure that we’re able to go out and successfully do the EOD mission.”
Spc. Tyler Wesson, a Florida Guard member with the 221st EOD, understands the importance of his role.
“As guard members, it’s important to stay up on all of our skills because sometimes the civilian life can get in the way,” Wesson said. “When we come back to drill we want to make sure we’re staying on top of what we’re doing.”
Soldiers may come from many different backgrounds, but must all attend a specialized EOD training school in order to be a qualified member of the unit. These varying backgrounds, including those who transferred from active duty and transitional guardsmen, provide leadership an opportunity to capitalize on the diverse military experience to effectively accomplish their mandatory training.
“What this [training] allows for is those two types of personnel to come together and get exposed to problems,” Curtis said, “Those who do have active duty experience can bring the knowledge they’ve gained from that area and help develop the skill sets of our traditional Guardsmen who maybe haven’t seen it on a consistent basis.”