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).
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.
For more information or to participate, contact Tuck LeBree at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wicked Local Danvers September 13, 2012
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.
by Marine EOD September 10, 2012
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.
Fay Observer September 5, 2012
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.
Pilot Online Washington Post September 4, 2012
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.
Seattle Associated Press August 20, 2012
The Defense Department says a 32-year-old sailor from Des Moines was among seven Americans killed last week when a U.S. military helicopter crashed during a firefight with insurgents in a remote area of southern Afghanistan.
He was assigned to an explosive ordnance disposal mobile unit in San Diego.
Navy officials say Carson enlisted in May 1999 and graduated from boot camp at recruit training command in Great Lakes, Ill. in August 1999.
His awards and decorations include the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Battle Efficiency Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
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.
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.
Post Gazette.com August 18, 2012
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.
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.”
Afghanistan Black Hawk helicopter crash leaves 7 U.S. troops, 2 Navy SEALS, 1 EOD, 4 others dead, includes 1 Afghan Interpreter
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.
Petty Officer 1st Class Patrick D. Feeks, 28, was one of seven Americans killed in the crash Thursday during a firefight with insurgents northeast of Kandahar, officials said.
Associated Press August 20, 2012
HONOLULU—U.S. Army officials say four soldiers based at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii were killed last week when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Afghanistan.
The Taliban claimed they gunned down the Black Hawk, leading to the crash on Thursday.
Army officials said Monday that among the seven Americans and four Afghans killed were: 37-year-old Chief Warrant Officer Brian Hornsby of Melbourne, Fla., 29-year-old Chief Warrant Officer Suresh Krause, of Cathedral City, Calif., 41-year-old Sgt. Luis Galbreath of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and 23-year-old Sgt. Richard Essex of Kelseyville, Calif.
The soldiers identified were part of Schofield’s 25th Infantry Division.
The crash happened during a firefight with insurgents in a remote area of southern Afghanistan. It’s one of the deadliest air disasters of a war now into its second decade.
Three of the Americans were U.S. Navy sailors – two were Navy SEALS and one was an explosive ordnance disposal sailor.
Reuters August 16, 2012
Eleven people were killed on Thursday in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan, including seven U.S. soldiers and three Afghan allies, the NATO-led force in the country said.
CBS News August 16, 2012
NATO says 11 people, including at least three American troops, have been killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan.
The nationalities of the other casualties was not immediately confirmed, but a statement to the media from the international military coalition said the dead were, “four International Security Assistance Force service members, three United States Forces-Afghanistan service members, three members of the Afghan National Security Forces, and one Afghan civilian interpreter.”
Afghan officials told the Reuters news agency the crash took place in the Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province.
The wording suggests four of the dead were members of the International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan (ISAF) from other allied nations, and three were Afghan service personnel, plus the civilian.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Donations may also be made to The Kraig Vickers Foundation through Paypal at www.kraigvickers.com or at any Navy Federal Credit Union.
DanChurchAid (DCA) is seeking a visionary, dynamic Head of Operations for its Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) programmes around the globe. DCA is offering a job that will make a difference and improve the lives of people living at risk from Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and assist in the reconstruction of societies after conflict.
DCA has operational HMA programmes in Angola, Burma/Myanmar, DR Congo, Laos, Lebanon, Libya and Sudan, implementing the entire range of HMA activities.
The Head of Operations (HO) will be responsible for the coordination and supervision of all operational mine action aspects of the DCA HMA programmes. The HO will be comfortable in dealing with all external actors in strategic global HMA at all levels from UN agencies to local partner organisations. The challenging role extends to strategic advice, strategic planning, operational supervision, recruitment, training, impact measurement and ownership and operation of DCA’s HMA quality assurance mechanism.
Submit your application Please upload your letter of motivation, your CV and latest relevant diploma to www.noedhjaelp.dk/job or http://www.danchurchaid.org/get-involved/jobs/jobs-in-denmark no later than Thursday 9 August 2012. The interviews with the shortlisted candidates will be scheduled for Monday 20 August 2012. Initial interviews may take place by Skype, and relevant candidate(s) may be invited for a further interview in Copenhagen later in August.
For further information about this position please contact Head of Mine Action, Mr. Richard MacCormac at +45 2969 9138 or acting Head of Operations, Mr. M.J. Fred Pavey at +45 2969 9125. DCA promotes equal opportunity in terms of gender, race/ethnicity and belief and encourages all qualified and interested candidates to apply.
WASHINGTON Inter Press Service July 10, 2012
Disarmament activists and former U.S. ambassadors are urging Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to increase U.S. aid to Laos to clear millions of tonnes of unexploded ordinance (UXO) left by U.S. bombers on its territory during the Indochina War during her brief visit to the country Wednesday.
The visit, scheduled to last only a few hours on a hectic eight-nation tour by Clinton designed in part to underline the Barack Obama administration’s “pivot” from the Middle East to Asia, will nonetheless be historic. No sitting U.S. secretary of state has visited Laos since 1955.
Sources here said Clinton is considering a 100-million-dollar aid commitment to support bomb-clearing efforts over a 10-year period. Such a commitment would more than double the nearly 47 million dollars Washington has provided in UXO assistance since 1997 when it first began funding UXO programmes in Laos.