Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Staff Sgt Kenneth W Bennett killed in Afghanistan

This morning, the Pentagon announced the death of a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier who was killed while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Kenneth W. Bennett, 26, of Glendora, Calif., died Nov. 10, 2012, in Sperwan Gar, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained when he encountered an improvised explosive device during combat operations.

Unit records indicate Staff Sgt. Bennett entered in the Army in November 2004, and attended Initial Army Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Advanced Individual Training (AIT) was at both Redstone Arsenal, Al. and Eglin Air Force Base, Fl.

His AIT training was for that of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Specialist.

Staff Sgt. Bennett arrived at JBLM in February 2009, was assigned to the 53rd Ordnance Company (EOD), 3rd Ordnance Battalion (EOD).

November 12, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Department of Defense, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ronco Riff

October 25, 2012

Voluntary Today, Involuntary Tomorrow

Another Successful Flush by Wackenhut G4S

Will the last Ronco Consulting Corporation Employee out please close the lid ?

October 25, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, ArmorGroup, Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Contractor Oversight, Demining, ERW, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Follow the Money, Friendly Fire, G4S, Government Contractor, Iraq, Landmines, Lawsuits, Mine Clearance, Ronco, Ronco Consulting Corporation, State Department, Sudan, Taxes, United Nations, United Nations Board of Inquiry, Vetting Employees, Wackenhut | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fourth Annual EOD Charity Golf Tournament October 6 in Charleston

Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Association, Charleston Local Chapter 6, is hosting the fourth annual EOD Charity Golf Tournament Oct. 6 at the Shadowmoss Golf Plantation in Charleston.

The association provides funds to the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation and the EOD Memorial Foundation, which provides legacy educational scholarships to children and spouses of fallen service members.

For more information or to participate, contact Tuck LeBree at eodtuck@aol.com.

September 26, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wounded EOD hero thanks those who support the troops

Wicked Local Danvers  September 13, 2012

Danvers native Todd Hammond, U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class, shows his Purple Heart medal to his then two-year-old daughter as his wife Christine looks on. Hammond was presented the medal for wounds received in action while serving in Afghanistan in 2011.

Every Saturday in downtown Danvers, residents can find Jimmy George, retired Danvers police officer, at his usual post near the flagpole collecting donations for Operation Troop Support.

One weekend George had a handsome young man on crutches donate a few dollars to the cause. It turned out to be Danvers native Todd Hammond, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class in the U.S. Navy. On April 6, 2011, Hammond was clearing suspected Improvised Explosive Devices in the vicinity of an Afghan National Police checkpoint when an IED detonated directly beneath him, causing severe injuries. His wounds resulted in the amputation of his right leg just below the knee, a shattered right femur, a broken left foot and multiple soft tissue injuries as well as traumatic brain injury from the force of the blast.

George recognized the young soldier when Hammond returned home to Danvers to visit his mom, Janet Hammond, while he was recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“My wife had gone into CVS to get something and I saw Jimmy George sitting out in the Square,” Hammond said. “I hopped over to him and put something in his bucket. Then he came over to our truck and told me that he had a picture of me at his house. He knew who I was and knew of my mom. I remembered him when he was a cop working in downtown Danvers when I was young. And his sons were in Civil Air Patrol with me.”

George who volunteers for Operation Troop Support in Danvers had heard the story of the young soldier. But because Hammond wanted to keep a low profile, few residents knew what the Danvers High School graduate from the Class of 1989 had endured.

Hammond, who served his country for more than 17 years in both the Navy and Marine Corps and was deployed to more than a dozen countries, said as the war rages on he hopes that his story motivates people to continue to support the troops like George does. He has experienced first-hand the difference that care packages, letters and cards sent to soldiers can make, not only to troops in the field but for those wounded warriors at the hospitals when they return home.

Please read more about Todd Hammond at Wicked Local

 

September 13, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wounded EOD warrior returns

by Marine EOD  September 10, 2012

When U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Thomas Howard McRae rolled into a Juneau pizza parlor earlier this week, people couldn’t help but stare.

The two missing legs. The prosthetic arm. The wheelchair.

Then, the grey T-shirt that says, “If you keep staring, they may grow back.”

“You may as well have fun,” McRae said with a sly grin.

The 30-year-old Explosive Ordnance Technician returned to Juneau this week to visit his parents and the place where he was born and raised. It was his first time back since he was wounded by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Jan. 16.

McRae was greeted by friends and family, and was feted at a local high school football game held in his honor Saturday evening.

“It was good, although from the bleachers to the field, I can’t really see that far, but I had commentators,” he said, nodding to his father, Tim Ryan, and one of his sisters, Jessica Ryan. “But yeah, it was fun, it was nice. Everybody came out for the most part and said hi.”

From watching the ease with which McRae plays with his 4-year-old daughter, Aidan, and jokes with his family at the restaurant table, it’s hard to imagine that his parents once worried their son would never talk again.

“The scariest part of the whole thing for me was the brain injury,” says Tim. “… It’s scary — when you have a brain injury, they don’t even talk to him, they talk to us, and that’s what I wanted to get rid of.”

Tim elaborated, “They cut a hole in his head and stuck a straw down into his brain, and then they put an instrument down inside the straw and grabbed the (bone) fragment and pulled it out.”

“Yeah,” McRae added, “and then they left the rest. They only pulled out the one.”

“What the blast did was it took the bone structure behind his right eye, and blew it like a shotgun blast into his brain,” Tim explained. “So somewhere on his head, they took part of his skull and replaced the structure behind his eye so his brain didn’t fall down into the eye socket.”

“Because that would have been creepy,” McRae said.

Please read the entire article at Marine EOD

September 10, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Staff Sgt Jonathan Philip Schmidt killed in Afghanistan

 Fay Observer September 5, 2012

An Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Staff Sgt. Jonathan P. Schmidt at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Monday.

A Fort Bragg soldier killed Saturday in Afghanistan was an explosive ordnance disposal expert who had deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Philip Schmidt, 28, of Petersburg, Va., was killed when he and others came under fire in Batur Village, Afghanistan.

Schmidt served with the 767th Ordnance Company, 192nd Ordnance Battalion at Fort Bragg.

His higher command, the 20th Support Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., said Schmidt joined the Army in 2003.

His awards include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Badge, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, the NCO Professional Development Ribbon and the Army Service Ribbon.

Schmidt was also awarded the Army Parachutist Badge and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Basic and Senior Badges.

September 5, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blind Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal vet makes splash in Paralympics

Pilot Online  Washington Post  September 4, 2012

“Where is he?” said Brian Loeffler, looking down the empty lane of a 50-meter pool at 7 in the morning.

To his right, a masters practice was finishing up. In front of him, early risers were doing laps. He didn’t seem overly concerned that his star swimmer had disappeared.

“There he is,” the coach said, and called to a man at the far end of the pool. “Brad, you’re two lanes over.”

As the swimmer moved along the wall at the shallow end back to the correct lane, Loeffler explained that his charge sometimes submarines under the lane line when sprinting the breaststroke. It wouldn’t happen if he weren’t pushing himself in the final weeks before the Paralympic Games in London.

And also if he weren’t blind.

Bradley Snyder is midway through a seven-event schedule at the Paralympic Games, which end Sept. 9. He won a gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle Friday and a silver in the 50-meter freestyle Saturday. A former captain of the U.S. Naval Academy’s swim team, Snyder never imagined he would be in this meet. Nevertheless, it marks his return to a sport that once helped define who he was, before bad luck changed everything.

In Afghanistan a year ago, Snyder, a Navy lieutenant, was working with the Virginia Beach-based Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 12 when he stepped on a homemade land mine. His face took the brunt of the blast. He now has two glass eyes.

September 4, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , | Leave a comment

US Navy EOD Sean P Carson killed in Afghanistan Black Hawk Crash

The Department of Defense has identified another San Diego-based service member killed in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan last week.

Sean P. Carson, 32, was assigned to an explosive ordnance disposal mobile unit in San Diego. Carson was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Petty Officer, first class.

 

August 21, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , | Leave a comment

Marine EOD Mark Zambon: Reaching the Top

It was a very humbling experience, to go from being a very able-bodied man, leading an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team on numerous combat deployments, to simply not being able to carry myself up a sidewalk.

He’s still an active duty Marine, living in California.

The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE – Mark Zambon climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last month, but not just for himself.

Marquette native Zambon, who lost his lower legs to an improvised explosive device while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan in 2011, trained hard for the trip to Tanzania, which he made with Tim Medvetz and Medvetz’s organization, The Heroes Project.

But the accomplishment was about much more than climbing a mountain.

“The journey of making it to Africa was for me and my recovery,” Zambon, 27, said in an email. “The summit of Kilimanjaro was for my two friends SSgt. Josh Cullins (killed in action in October 2010 in Operation Enduring Freedom) and Sgt. Mike Tayaotao (killed in action in August 2007 in Operation Iraqi Freedom) whose dog tags I climbed with around my neck and buried atop Mount Kilimanjaro with my own EOD (explosive ordnance detail) digging knife that had dug on numerous IEDs.

Please read the entire article here

August 20, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Staff Sgt. Eric S. Holman, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, killed by IED in Afghanistan

Post Gazette.com  August 18, 2012

Eric Holman was motivated, meticulous and strong-willed.

Those qualities had served him well during his nine-year Army career, according to his stepmother, Jan Holman.

Staff Sgt. Holman, a 1990 Avonworth graduate, was killed Wednesday in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province by an improvised explosive device, according to the Department of Defense. He was 39.

A large contingent of family members, including his mother, Carol, of Franklin Park, and his father David and stepmother, of Forward Township, Butler County, were at Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware, when his body was brought back to the United States this morning.

“He had planned to make the Army a career,” Jan Holman said. “He liked everything about it.”

After graduating from Penn State in 1995 with a degree in criminal justice, Sgt. Holman held a variety of jobs. He drove cross-country for his father’s trucking company, operated a limousine service and did construction work.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he joined the Army as an enlisted man at age 29. He served with the 82nd Airborne Division and became a member of the Army’s Golden Knights parachute team. “They were like a family for him,” his stepmother said.

About three years ago he began training as an explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD, specialist. Assigned to the 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group, 20th Support Command, he had been stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. He had looked forward to his deployment in Afghanistan, which began in January, Jan Holman said. He was scheduled to come home in September.

He had been on patrol with a U.S. Special Forces team in the Afghan mountains when he was killed.

Please see the original and read more here

Fay Observer

A Fort Bragg soldier died Wednesday in Afghanistan of wounds he suffered when he encountered an improvised explosive device, the Defense Department said Friday.

Staff Sgt. Eric S. Holman, 39, of Evans City, Pa., died in Ghazni province. He was assigned to 192nd Ordnance Battalion, 52nd Ordnance Group, 20th Support Command at Fort Bragg.

He was an explosive ordnance disposal soldier, the 20th Support Command said in a press release issued Friday night.

“They are warriors who are properly trained, equipped and integrated to attack, defeat and exploit unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devices and weapons of mass destruction,” reads the U.S. Army’s website.

Holman used to perform with the Golden Knights, the U.S. Army Parachute Team. “The entire family of the Golden Knights offer our deepest regrets and gratitude to our family member Eric Holman,” the parachute team announced on its Facebook page Thursday. “Thank You and you will be missed.”

Please see the original here

August 17, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , , | Leave a comment

Marine Explosive Ordnance Disposal Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote killed in Afghanistan

Sacbee  August 16, 2012

For Russ Mote and his family, the grief comes in waves as they remember the son and brother who was killed a week ago while serving with the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan.

The comfort comes as they remember Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote’s characteristic smile and his conviction that the work he and his team were doing in an Afghan village in Helmand province was making a difference.

They were further comforted Thursday by the outpouring of support from El Dorado County residents and others who waved flags from Highway 50 overpasses and lined streets in El Dorado Hills as a motorcade bearing the young Marine’s body passed en route from McClellan Air Park to Green Valley Mortuary.

Sky Mote, 27, and two other members of the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion from Camp Pendleton – Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian, 29, of Los Altos Hills and Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke, 31, of Herndon, Va. – were killed Aug. 10.

Initial reports were that the three were shot by an Afghan police officer after sharing a meal with the man. Russ Mote said he is waiting to hear the story from members of his son’s unit.

“Sky always had a smile on his face. … I’ve only seen three pictures where he wasn’t smiling,” Mote said, and those were official Corps photos in which the Marine was supposed to look somber.

Sky Mote joined the Marines nine years ago, after graduating from Union Mine High School in his hometown of El Dorado.

Please see the original and read more here

 

August 17, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Airman found dead at Anchorage base

Anchorage Daily News  August 13, 2012

An airman was found dead near Six Mile Lake on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the Air Force said Sunday. Authorities say he died Saturday and the cause of death is under investigation.

Senior Airman Brandon Cox, 22, was found by members of the 673rd Security Forces Squadron. He worked as an explosive ordnance disposal technician and was assigned to the 673rd Civil Engineer Squadron

“This is a tragic loss for the Cox family, our organization and our Air Force,” said Col. Brian Duffy, commander of JBER and the 673d Air Base Wing. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Brandon’s family and friends.”

August 14, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , , | Leave a comment

Navy EOD expert accused of using detainee to check corpses

The Virginian Pilot-Pilot Online  August 11, 2012

Two insurgent fighters were dead, and a third had been taken into the custody of Iraqi security officers. After a showdown in the Iraqi desert some three years ago, Virginia Beach-based Navy bomb-disposal experts were called to the scene to probe the bodies for explosives.

Exactly what happened next – and why – is unclear. The dust-up ended with Iraqi soldiers gunning down the third insurgent after he managed to get his hands on a firearm.

Military prosecutors say Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Harvey C. Fisher is responsible.

The decorated war veteran was in a military courtroom at Norfolk Naval Station on Friday, charged with dereliction of duty and reckless conduct “of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.”

The charging documents allege that Fisher “willfully caused the use of an Iraqi detainee to perform dangerous labor.” They also allege that Fisher suggested and permitted the detained insurgent to move the bodies to search them for bombs; and that Fisher suggested and permitted the detainee be allowed “into an area where there were weapons available for him to use.”

Defense attorneys dispute that. They say Fisher, a 29-year-old explosive ordnance disposal

specialist based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, had no responsibility for what happened May 4, 2009, near Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq.

Fisher did not enter a plea at Friday’s arraignment. He asked to be tried by a jury that includes fellow enlisted sailors. A court-martial is scheduled to begin Sept. 7.

Fisher was a petty officer 1st class assigned to Explosive Ordnance Mobile Unit 6 at the time of the incident. He still works with the unit and has not been assigned to administrative duties as a result of the charges.

The court documents include few details about the day in question, and Marine Capt. Keaton Harrell, the lead prosecutor, declined to comment.

Fisher’s civilian attorney, Greg McCormack, elaborated on the incident after the hearing.

McCormack said the third insurgent was in the custody of Iraqi military officers. For some reason, he said, the detainee was allowed to go down into a gully where the bodies lay, and there he picked up a firearm. The Iraqi soldiers shot him dead.

“The question is: How and why did he get down there?” McCormack said. “Our position is that my client did not conduct any misconduct.”

Fisher wasn’t responsible for the detainee, said McCormack, who filed a motion asking the government to track down two Iraqi army eyewitnesses to confirm Fisher’s story.

Cmdr. Colleen Glaser-Allen, the judge, told prosecutors to take up McCormack’s request with the Iraqi government but cautioned him against counting on the officers’ testimony. Even if officials are able to locate the Iraqi officers, Glaser-Allen said, the court can’t compel them to testify.

McCormack anticipates calling numerous character witnesses during the trial, he said, many of them from within the close-knit community of explosive ordnance disposal specialists.

Considered one of the most dangerous jobs during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, EODs are trained to find and dismantle bombs before they go off. Fisher is well-respected in the EOD community, McCormack said.

Fisher appeared in court in dress whites, wearing a Bronze Star he received in 2008 for his work clearing bombs in Iraq. He joined the Navy in July 2001 and has been promoted twice since the 2009 incident.

The arraignment was scheduled earlier this year but was delayed to allow Fisher to participate in a “career-enhancing operation,” according to the judge.

Please see the original here

August 11, 2012 Posted by | Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Iraq, Lawsuits, Legal Jurisdictions | , , , | Leave a comment

Wildfires set off explosions in Bosnia minefield

As firefighters tried to contain two wildfires near an ammunition factory in southern Bosnia on Thursday, one of the blazes began setting off explosions in a minefield left over from the country’s war in the 1990s, officials said.

Associated Press at the Seattle Times  August 9, 2012

KONJIC, Bosnia-Herzegovina —

As firefighters tried to contain two wildfires near an ammunition factory in southern Bosnia on Thursday, one of the blazes began setting off explosions in a minefield left over from the country’s war in the 1990s, officials said.

No one was injured, but the risks of entering the minefield and heavy winds were making it difficult for the firefighters and several military helicopters assisting them to battle the two blazes in the populated area.

Both fires were threatening the Igman ammunition factory on the outskirts of Konjic village from opposite sides, with one of them burning in the heavily mined forest.

“We are doing our best but with the heat and the wind the fires are spreading fast and there is not much we can do about it. It’s all in the minefields,” said Fadil Tatar, commander of Konjic civil protection.

Tatar, who is in charge of coordinating the rescue services and firefighters, said several explosions could be heard Thursday morning as the fire set off some of the mines.

Please see the original and read more here

August 10, 2012 Posted by | Balkans, Bomb Disposal, Civilian Contractors, Demining, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Explosive Remnants of War, Landmines, Mine Clearance, UXO | , , , , | Leave a comment

USN Explosive Ordnance Disposal Kraig Vickers Memorial Run

Maui Weekly  August 2, 2012

A memorial run fundraiser and celebration of life will be held on Sunday, Aug. 5, in honor of Explosive Ordinance Disposal Senior Chief Kraig M.K. Vickers, one of 22 U.S. service members killed in action in Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.

Vickers, a 1992 Maui High School graduate and a football and wrestling standout, was a senior chief explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit. His helicopter was shot down while supporting America’s Global War on Terrorism: “Operation Enduring Freedom” in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan.

“The decision to hold a memorial run was made as a way to remember Kraig and to pay tribute to him and other military personnel as well, and to thank them for their service and sacrifice,” said the Vickers ‘ohana.

Register online at www.virr.com.

If your organization is interested in assisting with this event, email kraigvickersfoundation@gmail.com.

More information about the Kraig Vickers Honor Run can be found at www.active.com and www.mauirunner.com.

Donations may also be made to The Kraig Vickers Foundation through Paypal at www.kraigvickers.com or at any Navy Federal Credit Union.

August 2, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , , , | Leave a comment