303rd EOD experts enhance relations, share capabilities with Japan

February 1, 2017

Explosive ordnance disposal specialists are the Army’s foremost tactical and technical explosives experts who are trained and equipped to safely defeat and exploit unexploded ordnance (UXO), improvised explosive devices (IED) and weapons of mass destruction. They are the subject matter experts of their field and render aid whenever they are called upon.

However, it was a mission of partnership and readiness that members from the 65th Ordnance Disposal Company (EOD), 303rd Ordnance Disposal Battalion (EOD), 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command was asked to support, as they hosted a subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) with soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Jan. 25-26, here.

With Japan hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Summer Olympics, the JGSDF seized the opportunity to expand their current doctrine to counter IEDs (C-IEDs) to better support their regional law enforcement. In order to better understand some of the capabilities and techniques used by U.S. Army EOD teams, a SMEE was coordinated between the two nations.

“We are showing them what we do so that way they have a better understanding on how they want to set up their own team,” explained Spc. Tyler Robertson, team member, 65th OD Co.

Showcasing equipment and several tools employed by U.S. Army EOD teams, the 65th OD Co. team demonstrated the capabilities of a few robots as well as the equipment used to X-ray IEDs.

While Staff Sgt. Michael Walker, team leader, 65th OD Co., showed how to set up and use the X-ray equipment, he also stressed the importance of safety.

“There are so many different scenarios the bad guys can employ to make IEDs that I also wanted to stress some of the safety parameters we use as well,” said Walker.

In addition to sharing capabilities, another benefit to the exchange was learning how each nation operates.

“The more knowledgeable we are about each other’s capabilities the better we can assist each other in a more efficient manner,” said Walker.

The current U.S.-Japan relationship is the deep-rooted mutual trust, friendship, support and cooperation between our two countries. Training like this is a key example of supporting Japan’s increased capabilities, enhancing their ability to contribute to regional security and stability.

Despite having only two days to conduct the SMEE, 1st Lt. Caitlin Martin, platoon leader, 65th OD Co. said that she really enjoyed the experience.

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