AL ASAD, Iraq -- Most Marines try their best to avoid improvised explosive devices, but these hard-charging Marines seek them out.
Explosive ordnance disposal technicians with 2nd EOD Platoon, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), counteract IEDs everyday.
“The great element of this job is I’m able to work tight with my unit,” said Sgt. Harry W. Parker, an EOD technician with 2nd Platoon. “We’re one team and that is it.”
Cohesion is important, and EOD units consist of small teams for a reason. The Marines said that in a job with no margin for error, trusting each other is vital.
The three Marines in 2nd Platoon said they joined EOD for a challenge.
“I joined EOD to better myself,” said Staff Sgt. John Pado, leader of Team ‘Chuck Norris’, EOD Platoon. “In this (occupation) you have the skill to minimize a threat to save Marines.”
The threats of IEDs are dreadfully real, and not only are these Marines aware of the dangers they face, but it drives them to keep executing their missions.
“The danger is a given factor,” said Parker, 34, a Cedar Hill, Texas. “When you go out you have to be in a mind set where you have to be as cautious and know what you are doing.”
He said there is never a dull day in the life of an EOD technician.
“It’s an adventure beyond what I could imagine,” said Pado, a native of Toledo, Ohio. “Because of the experience, it has opened up numerous opportunities for me to become a better Marine.”
The Marines remain enthusiastic about their job despite their high deployment rate. Currently, they spend six months away from their family every year.
Pado said the job takes a lot of self-discipline and family support to exercise caution during day to day operations counteracting IEDs.
“You have to have the love for the job,” said Sgt. Sean D. Pinckney, 30, an EOD technician with 2nd Platoon and a native of Jeffersonville, Ind. “The explosions, gathering up wire, it takes a lot of patience.”
The Marines say that working along side others who volunteered for a hazardous job, knowing they could leave the occupation at any time, is the greatest factor.
“It has been greatest decision of my career,” said Pado, 27. “Nowhere in the Department of Defense will you find anyone who can perform at a level as (EOD does). If you did, you would be back at square one…face to face with an EOD Tech.”