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

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

Bomb Blast robs Navy EOD Taylor Morris of parts of four limbs

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Taylor Morris, right, sits with a fellow service member in Afghanistan during a lull in a firefight.

But the 23-year-old’s inner strength and determination remain undented

Des Moines Register

The bomb blast in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, earlier this month took so much from Taylor Morris, a former soccer player and top-notch wrestler at Cedar Falls High School.

Morris, 23, lost his right leg at the knee, his left leg at mid-thigh, his right arm at the wrist and his left arm at the elbow.

But somehow, the explosion did little damage to his major organs. And it didn’t dent his determination to recover and move on with his life. His parents are grateful for both those blessings.

“We are blessed in that his organs and core received only scratches … and we are thankful for that,” said Juli Morris, Taylor’s mother.

Taylor Morris, a U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal technician, was wounded May 3 by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol with U.S. forces in Kandahar province.

He had only arrived in Afghanistan in February, his first deployment.

He joined the Navy right out of high school in 2007 and has always been interested in Navy special operations, his mother said.

Based at Virginia Beach, he underwent 10 months of training in disarming and disposing explosive ordnance, in addition to underwater dive training and parachute jump school so he could accompany Special Forces on missions. Based at Virginia Beach, he was attached to a unit of Army Green Berets at the time he was wounded.

Please read the entire article here

June 5, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Explosive devices found near Hagadera refugee camp

“The explosive was later detonated by ballistic experts
and so there is no cause for alarm as security has been
beefed up in the area,” said Regional police commander

DADAAB (Xinhua) Three explosives were found near the UN refugee camp offices early on Thursday, about 5 km from the Hagadera refugee camp in northern Kenya.

The police said the explosives which were discovered by G4S, private security officers at 8 a.m. had been buried in the soil right in the middle of the road.

The road is used by UN vehicles that go the Hagardera refugee camps.

Eyewitnesses told Xinhua at the world’s largest refugee complex in northern Kenyan that the G4S security officers manning the expansive UNHCR become suspicious when they saw a strange object protruding from the ground.

“We still can’t tell who planted the explosives in the soil, but the one responsible for this must have had bad intentions and were maybe targeting the UN or the security personnel vehicles which use the route frequently,” said the local resident who did not want to be named for fear of reprisal.

Regional police commander Leo Nyongesa said the security officers from the nearby Daadab police station with the help of ballistic experts who were swiftly called at the scene managed to detonate one of the improvised electronic device (IED) and went with the other two.

Please see the original and read more here

May 12, 2012 Posted by | Africa, Civilian Contractors, G4S, Improvised Explosive Devices, Private Security Contractor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sapper Conner Ray, British Explosive Ordnance Disposal, fatally injured by improvised bomb in Afghanistan

Wales Online  May 11, 2012

The family of a soldier fatally injured by an improvised bomb in Afghanistan have paid tribute to him ahead of his funeral.

Sapper Connor Ray, 20, of 33 Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) will be given full military honours at his funeral at St Woolas Cathedral in Newport, south Wales, today.

He was fatally injured during a search and clearance operation in the Nad-e Ali district of central Helmand near Checkpoint Kahmanan on April 11.

Sapper Ray was part of a mission to clear a compound previously used by insurgents, allowing local people to safely return to the area, when he was seriously injured in an IED blast.

He was taken to Camp Bastion Role 3 Hospital and later transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, where he died on April 18.

“Connor was such a kind-hearted, good-natured and amusing guy with a curious taste for ’80s power ballads,” his family said in a moving tribute.

“He described himself as a warrior even though he was scared of spiders.

“Always in good spirits and often mischievous, he had a cheeky grin and infectious giggle.

May 11, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

British EOD dies of wounds from deadly blast

A BRITISH soldier has tragically died in Britain after being fatally wounded by a Taliban bomb a week ago.

The Sun  April 19, 2012

The brave soldier of Britain’s elite bombing hunting unit – 33 Engineer Regiment – was critically hurt last Wednesday.

He received emergency medical care on the battlefield and was then rushed back to the Forces wing at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

But today, his wounds from the deadly blast proved too serious and he died.

A total of 409 members of UK forces have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001.

Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Major Ian Lawrence, said: “It is with a deep sense of regret that I must confirm the death of a soldier from 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD) who died of wounds sustained in an IED (improvised explosive device) strike on 11 April 2012.

“The thoughts and sincere condolences of the entire Task Force are with his family and friends.”

April 19, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Civilian Contractors John J Keys and Jacob A West receive Defense of Freedom Medal

Fairbanks civilian contractor who survived blast in Afghanistan honored

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Kendall P. Cox, left, presents the Defense of Freedom Medal to John Keys, 52, of Fairbanks, who was injured when a bomb exploded while Keys was conducting a road survey near Paktika Province, Afghnistan, injuring Keys and killing U.S. service members Navy Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Border, 31, of West Lafayette, Ohio, and Army Staff Sgt. Jorge M. Oliveria, 33, of Newark, N.J. The medal also was presented to Jacob West, 30, of Fayetteville, N.C., who was injured with Keys. / Photo by Mark Rankin, AED North Public Affairs Office

FAIRBANKS — A Fairbanks engineer saw first hand last fall how Afghanistan is a dangerous assignment whether for a soldier or a civilian. While working on a new road in an Afghan village John J. Keys was hit by an 80-pound roadside bomb. Keys, another Army civilian and a translator survived, but two military men they had been working with for months were killed instantly.

Perhaps thankless is the best word for the engineering assignment. Keys found out later that the villagers for whom they were building the road likely saw the bomb-layers digging for several days to install the bomb.

Yet no one bothered to warn them.

Keys, 52, is no stranger to war zones. In his recent career he was been a a civil engineer at Fort Wainwright, where he helped design some the post’s barracks. But before coming to Fairbanks in 1994 he served in the Air National Guard during Operation Desert Storm and later on drug interdiction assignments in Central and South America.

As a civilian engineer, Keys said he has good protection from the military with a close aerial presence and an escort of soldiers. But he never forgot he was in a war. “You’re always careful,” he said. “You’re looking for signs of (improved explosive devices), hand trails where they bury the wires … You’re always aware that anything could happen at any time.”

On Oct. 19, Keys was inspecting a two-lane gravel road through the village of Yahya Khel in Eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border. He was on (and now directs) a provisional reconstruction team, a combined military and civilian crew that was going to convert a gravel road to cobblestones at the request of the village. As a member of the team, Keys wore full combat gear minus the weapons and was traveling with a convoy of heavy mine-resistant vehicles. Instead of an assault rifle he carried a camera to document the road conditions.

A photograph he took a few minutes before the blast shows a relatively innocuous scene: a dusty road flanked by earthen walls. A group of men in white robes sit and stand in a doorway talking to soldiers.

The blast went off about 100 meters from where the photograph was taken. The explosion killed Navy Chief Petty Officer Raymond J. Border, 31, of West Lafayette, Ohio, and Army Staff Sgt. Jorge M. Oliveira, 33, of Newark, N.J. Keys was blown of his feet and knocked 20 feet into a gully, according to an account of the explosion recorded in a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers news release.

“I don’t know how to describe it,” Keys said. “I was in full-body pain and I wasn’t where I started.”

The other Army civilian, Jacob A. West, 30, of Fayetteville, N.C., remembered only a smell of burning dirt, chemical and plastic from the moments after the blast, according to the Army news release. His first clear memory was sitting in the armored vehicle where he saw Keys return to the site of the blast to look for the two military men.

“He (Keys) did all that without being asked,” West said according to the release. “He did all that on his own without any regard for his personal safety. He was part of that team. I think that was significant. People should know that.”

This week, Keys and West were both presented the Defense of Freedom Metal, the equivalent of the military Purple Heart for Department of Defense civilians

Please see the original and read more here

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Casualties, Civilian Contractors, Department of Defense | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marine EOD Sgt. Joseph D’Augustine killed in Afghanistan

Update from Rick Crawford

On Tuesday of this week, Staff Sergeant Joseph D’Augustine was killed in Afghanistan by an IED. He was 29 years old.

Staff Sergeant D’Augustine was an EOD tech in the United States Marine Corps, and he had four tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq to his credit. He enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after he graduated from Waldwick High School in New Jersey in 2001. As an EOD tech, Staff Sergeant D’Augustine displayed the full extent of his bravery by clearing explosive threats in defending the lives of his fellow marines, soldiers, airmen, and sailors.

EOD techs, like Staff Sergeant D’Augustine, play an invaluable role in securing our freedom and in combating terrorism, but too often their heroic deeds go unreported

North Jersey.com  March 28, 2012

Sgt. Joseph D’Augustine of the U.S. Marine Corps was killed in Afghanistan this week. He was 29.

Twenty four hours after four Marines showed up at his parent’s home on Campbell Street in Waldwick with news of his death, the family had gathered and members were rifling through boxes of photos of the 2001 Waldwick High School graduate to find one in which he was flashing just the right smile.

D’Augustine is survived by his parents, Anthony and Patricia, and sisters, Nicole, Jennifer and Michele and her husband, Len Kulesa of Mahwah. He also had two nephews and one niece.

As of 3:30 p.m. March 28, the Department of Defense had not released information surrounding D’Augustine’s death.

Joseph D’Augustine left for boot camp the day after his graduation from Waldwick High School in 2001, his sisters said. This was his fourth tour; previous deployments had taken him to Iraq and Fallujah, Afghanistan.

“We loved him. He was a great brother, great uncle and great son,” said Michele Kulesa. “My parents were really proud of him. His nephews looked up to him and couldn’t wait for him to come home. He was a happy guy. God just took him too soon.”

The family said they planned to leave in several hours for Delaware on March 28 to await the arrival of D’Augustine’s remains.

D’Augustine was a member of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit and belonged to Waldwick VFW Post 1049 and American Legion Nightengale Post 57, according to VFW commander Michael Echevarria.

“Not only did he want to be a Marine, but he wanted to be wherever the action was,” Echevarria said in an interview March 28. “That’s true of him with everything. In high school he was a hell of a linebacker and he was a great wrestler.”

Echevarria described D’Augustine as someone who “wasn’t happy unless everyone around him was laughing.”

March 28, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

6 Afghan police die while defusing bomb

KABUL, Afghanistan –AP News 13  February 25, 2012

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense says six Afghan soldiers have been killed and 16 others wounded while trying to defuse a roadside bomb.

The ministry says the soldiers died Saturday in Mukar district of Baghdis province in western Afghanistan.

February 25, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , | Leave a comment

In the line of fire: Afghanistan’s IED experts

The Telegraph February 17, 2012

The heavy doors of the armoured personnel carrier swung open with a bang: Warrant Officer Gareth Wood (known to everyone as Woody) was about to tackle his first improvised explosive device (IED) of the day.

The hum of engines was replaced by the shrill whine of metal detectors as the search team set to work. After locating the device they stood in a huddle, chatting and chain-smoking. A sniper was called forward and moved into position, scanning the horizon for trouble. Woody picked up his metal detector and started walking towards the bomb – alone. Everyone watched him go. He lay down, the bomb inches from his head, and started brushing away dirt with a knife and a paintbrush, as careful as an archaeologist. ‘You’re in your own little world,’ he would tell me later. ‘It’s quite surreal.’

Staff Sgt Olaf 'Oz' Schmid

When Woody, who is married with two children, left for Afghanistan in early 2010, he knew it was far from certain that he would return home. ‘There’d been a mass of casualties,’ he recalls now. ‘I think there was a one-in-six chance of us not coming back.’ In the lead-up to his deployment, his fellow bomb disposal operator, Staff Sgt Olaf ‘Oz’ Schmid, a close friend and colleague from 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, died while defusing a roadside bomb near Sangin, after having successfully neutralised 64 bombs during his five-month tour. Another friend and fellow operator, Capt Daniel Read (also from 11 EOD), was killed while tackling a device in northern Helmand. ‘I didn’t go to Dan’s repatriation,’ Woody recalls. ‘It was literally hours before I was due to fly out to Afghanistan; I couldn’t face it.’

Bomb disposal experts have never been in greater demand: Afghanistan has become an IED war. The huge number of these homemade bombs is seriously disrupting Nato operations in the country, and efforts to reconstruct it. Almost 400 British soldiers and MoD personnel have died since Britain entered the war in Afghanistan 10 years ago, and the majority of casualties since 2008 have been from improvised explosives. They also accounted for nearly 1,000 civilian deaths in the country last year, according to a new UN report. In December it was announced that British troops were to receive £400 million- worth of new kit to counter the threat. Bombs costing pennies have proved a match for a military machine costing billions.

Please read the entire story here

February 17, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bryan Bell, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, killed in Afghanistan

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, LA (KSLA) –  January 6, 2012

A Barksdale Air Force Base Airman was killed on Thursday while serving in Afghanistan.

23-year-old Bryan Bell died after he was hit by an I-E-D.

Bryan was a member of an elite ‘Explosive Ordinance Division’ (Bomb Squad) based at Barksdale.

His parents say Bryan was originally from Erie, Pennsylvania. He joined the Air Force in April of 2007 and got his bomb disposal training at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida before being assigned to Barksdale.

He married his wife, Alaina in August of 2008 and would have turned 24 next month. Bell also attended Louisiana Tech.

Bryan’s remains are expected to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware about 11:30 EST.

Arklatex

Family friend, Jim Hawryliw told KTAL’s sister station JET24/FOX66 that Bell was a volunteer firefighter who joined the Air Force in 2007.
Both Bryan and Alaina are from Pennsylvania, Friedley said, and they lived in base housing on Barksdale AFB.

Bell was a member of the 2nd Civil Engineering Squadron based at Barksdale, was an EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) Specialist.

January 6, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Two Harbors native keeps troops safe as bomb disposal technician

Lake County News Chronicle November 18, 2011

The mortar was lying smack dab in the middle of the dusty road.

From his vantage point, Tech. Sgt. Bill Williams, a 1995 graduate of Two Harbors High School, sized up the lethal explosive and quickly knew what he had to do. But getting to the mortar meant running through a shooting gallery.

Williams is a bomb disposal technician – think “The Hurt Locker” – and it’s his job to defuse all manner of explosives. On this day, July 26, 2010, Williams and another airman were called to the village of Shah Mazar in Afghanistan’s Logar Province, where soldiers looking for a kidnapped U.S. sailor had been rocked by an improvised explosive device. The IED kicked out an unexploded mortar into the middle of the road.

It had to be defused.

“We didn’t know they were in an active firefight. When we stepped off the bird, they said ‘keep your head down,’” said Williams, 34, now of Sun Prairie.

Usually the area is secured before Explosive Ordnance Disposal members arrive. Not on this hot July day.

Please read the entire article here

November 18, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , | Leave a comment

Memorial to British Explosive Ordnance Disposal Charlie Wood

Albert Park memorial to hero soldier Charlie Wood

A BRAVE Teesside soldier killed in Afghanistan is to be remembered with a permanent memorial.

Charlie Wood was just 34 when he lost his life while searching for hidden bombs. The bomb disposal expert was caught in an Improvised Explosive Device blast last December.

The Warrant Officer Class 2 from 23 Pioneer Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, was described by his family as “a soldier through and through who did not die in vain”. A son, brother and husband, he had a “heart of gold that could melt the sun”.

Charlie was born and bred in Middlesbrough and the town came to a sombre standstill at his funeral service in January.

Charlie was a keen Boro fan and the cortege stopped off at the Riverside Stadium.

Now a memorial is to be unveiled in his home town. Middlesbrough will honour one of its bravest sons at 2pm tomorrow.

Please read more here Gazette Live UK

November 5, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Caleb Nelson Killed in Afghanistan

WAVY Sunday, 02 Oct 2011

NORFOLK, Va.(WAVY) – A locally based Navy SEAL was killed Saturday in Zabul province, Afghanistan, according to a press release from the Department of Defense.

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Caleb Nelson, 26, was killed when the vehicle he was riding in hit an improvised explosive device, according to the Department of Defense.

Nelson, A native of Omaha Nebraska, was assigned to the Naval Special Operations Warfare Unit based out of Norfolk.

“Caleb Nelson was a cherished teammate, a gifted SEAL operator, and a loving husband and father. His tireless professionalism, inspiring passion for life, and his humble and selfless service to our country made him a role model for all who knew him,” said Capt Tim Szymanski, Commander of Naval Special Warfare Group TWO in a released statement.

“We are deeply saddened by this tremendous loss and yet comforted knowing that Caleb died serving beside the people he loved. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Nelson family during this very difficult time, and we will never forget the ultimate sacrifice that Caleb made while protecting our nation and his teammates,” said Capt. Szymanski.

Nelson was a highly decorated soldier and received the Bronze Star for Valor and a Purple Heart.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and his parents.

Stay with WAVY.com and Wavy News 10 on air for the latest on this developing story

October 2, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkish engineer killed in Afghanistan

A Turkish engineer has been killed and two of his colleagues have been wounded when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat

Press TV September 8, 2011

The blast took place on Thursday morning in close proximity to Shindand Air Base, currently used by the US-led the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), when the car carrying the Turkish nationals ran over a bomb.

Provincial police Spokesman Abdul Rauf Ahmadi confirmed the incident, and said a Turkish engineer and two employees of a construction company in Shindand district of Herat province were killed on Thursday.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi claimed responsibility for the attack and said six Turkish engineers were killed as a result of the roadside bomb explosion.

Roadside bombs or improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are by far the most lethal weapon used by Taliban militants against foreign and Afghan troops as well as innocent civilians.

Please see the original here

September 8, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , | Leave a comment