Camp Pendleton, Calif --
SSgt. Paul J. Butcher, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, received Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician of the Year Award for his aggressive initiative and aptitude as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician as well as a Staff Noncommissioned officer.
From April to October 2020, Butcher served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Littoral Explosive Ordnance Neutralization (LEON) Response Element Leader for Task Force Koa Moana 20 (TF KM20) where he was assigned to the Force Reconnaissance Detachment. Most importantly during TF KM20, his technical expertise enabling successful LEON and Force Reconnaissance missions had huge implications within the information environment.
“ We are beginning to play the long game in the Pacific. We are here to have a presence and to show our adversaries that we can impede their movements and keep them from achieving their goals.” said Butcher.
U.S. Marine EOD technicians removing explosive threats from the waters of the host nation of Palau was publicized through both Palau and U.S. media. Local newspapers in Palau to ABC News in the United States, the story of EOD in Palau increased Koa Moana media exposure from previous years. The success in positive U.S. imagery, led by EOD directly enabled and concluded with the President of Palau requesting a permanent U.S. Naval base built in his nation. This will undoubtedly have huge impacts for U.S. strategic interest in the Pacific as the focus continues to shift to great power competition.
Butcher had also been making major impacts in the EOD community and Marine Corps Institution by his research, development and implementation of LEON capability and also pioneering a modernized and innovative Tactical Assault Kit (TAK). As the TAK integration expanded throughout the Marine Corps, SSgt Butcher was requested by name to assist and advise multiple units to include II Marine Expeditionary Force Expeditionary Operations Training Group (EOTG), the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion to improve their TAK capabilities.
“The purpose of the Marine Corps is to enable Naval forces, this is what we are shifting back to and we are going to do that by denying adversary movement and ability to operate. “ said Butcher on the Marine Corps implementation of EOD within the force design.
Staff Sergeant Butcher had also integrated TAK capabilities into Marine Corps EOD's experimental LEON development. Butcher had routinely served as the technological expert at the forefront of capabilities development. His expertise with emerging systems such as the L3 Harris IVER-3 Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV), the SRS Fusion Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), the Sea Ox and Sea Otter Autonomous Underwater Ground Vehicles (AUGV), and many other communications technologies and networks had enabled him to be the primary asset ensuring mission success during utilization of these systems.
“I have a personal interest in communications command control and enabling that. So employing that strength and that personal passion into my field I can assist in advancing not only the EOD field, but the Marine Corps as well.” said Butcher.
Staff Sergeant Butcher’s intellect and initiative, combined with his knowledge and dedication to advancing the Marine Corps amphibious capabilities development, proved to be a great asset to the future of the EOD program.
(U.S. Marine Corps story by Lance Cpl. Kevin N. Seidensticker)