CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
While there was no official ceremony signifying the transfer of authority from one Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company to the next, the guidon outside the EOD compound on Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, now belongs to 1st EOD Co., 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward).
The Camp Pendleton based unit took over EOD responsibilities in Regional Command Southwest’s area of operations from 2nd EOD Co., April 23.
While forward deployed, EOD Co’s. mission is to support the Marine Air-Ground Task Force by locating, accessing, identifying, rendering safe, neutralizing and disposing of high-yield explosives, unexploded ordnance, weapons of mass destruction and improvised explosive devices. Additionally, the EOD technicians also embed with infantry battalions and train service members on IED awareness and proper immediate action.
“EOD Marines train all members of the MAGTF on IED awareness, confirmation and actions to take when a unit finds an IED,” said Maj. James Shelstad, 1st EOD Co. commander. “The EOD technicians are at the company level of all infantry battalions and are the [subject matter experts] for planning and coordination for that commander.”
Immediately after arriving in Afghanistan in early April, the 47 EOD teams of 1st EOD Co. worked alongside 2nd EOD Co. so they fully understood the current mission. The professional, no nonsense attitude of the EOD Marines helped to ensure a successful transition.
“Our turnover was focused on the EOD team leader billet,” said CWO4 Jesse McGinnis, 2nd EOD Co. commander. “The most challenging role is that of the EOD team leader. EOD teams are distributed throughout Helmand Province supporting various infantry battalions. Ensuring they had sufficient time to get a full grasp of the mission at hand was paramount for long-term success.”
With turnover complete, 1st EOD Co. is prepared and ready to take over the EOD responsibilities in Helmand Province.
“We are ready to be in the driver’s seat,” Shelstad said. “The Marines and sailors of 2nd EOD Co. have done an amazing job during their tour – both in support of the MAGTF day in and day out and in handing us a well honed machine in the company commodities. The 1st EOD Co. Marines and sailors are excited to be here and have been chomping at the bit to get down to business.”
With 1st EOD Co. in control, 2nd EOD Co. is preparing to leave Afghanistan after a successful deployment. While deployed, the Camp Lejeune, N.C., based company completed more than 2,800 total responses, responded to 740 IED calls and neutralized over 1,000 IEDs. Additionally, the company turned in more than 1,500 bags of evidence for further exploitation and trained nearly 10,000 personnel.
“I could not be more proud of the job that all of my Marines did,” McGinnis said. “We were aggregated from six different [Marine Subordinate Commands] from all over the Marine Corps, and we combined to make a cohesive, effective combat unit.
“As a commander, each and every one of the Marines carried out my intent well above my expectations. I challenged them before our departure not to be perfect, but to be professional. They took that to heart and executed at every level of leadership. I am simply humbled by their accomplishments.”