Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

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

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

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

Marine EOD, Sgt John Patrick Huling killed by Afghan National Army Soldier

Cincinnati.com  May 6, 2012

A local U.S. Marine has been killed in Afghanistan.

The Marine Corps informed Sgt. John Patrick (JP) Huling’s mother, Debbie Huling, on Sunday that he was killed while on foot patrol in Anwar Province.

“He was brave and selfless and gave his life for his country so everybody could enjoy the freedom that we live now,” said Huling of West Chester.

Huling said that he was ambushed by a man who appeared to be an Afghan military policeman. She said she was led to believe that the man may have been a Taliban militant.

Sgt. Huling, 25, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest. He was flown to a hospital, where he later died.

The Moeller High School graduate and bomb disposal specialist is survived by his wife of two years, Priscilla, and their dog, Soco; a brother, Justin, 23, who also is a Marine; a sister, Lauren Coach, 30, of Cincinnati and a niece, Tyrah, 12.

Please see the original and read more here

May 7, 2012 Posted by | Afghanistan, Bomb Disposal, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , , , , | 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

Marine EOD Nick Daniels killed in Afghanistan

Chicago Tribune   November 6, 2011

Outside the Elmwood Park home where 25-year-old Marine Nick Daniels grew up, his younger sister, Kati, is still coming to grips with her family’s loss.

“I never thought it would happen to him,” she said. “It’s really hard, ya know — he was just so young.”

Daniels was an all-conference football player, graduating from St. Pat`s high school on Chicago’s Northwest Side before going onto college briefly.

Less than two years ago, he enlisted in the Marine Corps– the first of his generation to do so.

His sister said that becoming a marine was something Daniels always wanted to do so he went ahead and did it.

A family photograph was taken in August as they said goodbye before his first deployment as a bomb disposal Marine in Afghanistan.

“I just didn`t believe it because he was only there for a month and a half and he just got an award for digging up a bomb and then this happened,” Kati said, “and I didn`t want to believe it when they came to our house.”

Now others, like the Patriot Guard Riders, are making visits, helping this family deal with a sudden loss.

Patriot Guard Rider Dave Hume said “we’ve seen way too many grieving families [and that he has] been in too many airports, in too many hangars, watching too many caskets come off of the flights.”

“This Marine will not be unattended,” Hume added, “There will be a marine at his side the entire time.”

Some comfort for the Daniels family, who will now hold onto memories of their oldest son and brother.

Kati added that her brother “just loved making everyone laugh. He was a great guy; he just wanted everyone to have fun.”

November 7, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marine EOD Staff Sergeant Stephen J Dunning killed in Afghanistan

Milpitas Marine Awarded Purple Heart, Was Killed Disarming Bomb

Marine Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Dunning, 31, of Milpitas, has received a posthumous Purple Heart. Dunning is a graduate of Milpitas HIgh School.

Marine Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Dunning, 31, of Milpitas, was killed Thursday in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Department of Defense said Dunning was an explosive ordinance disposal technician, and was killed while attempting to disarm an explosive device in the Helmand province when he was killed.

Dunning has been awarded a posthumous Purple Heart.

During his career, he also collected many other service awards, including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, and the NATO Medal-ISAF Afghanistan. He also received two letters of appreciation and a certificate of commendation, individual award.

Dunning joined the Marine Corps on April 19, 1999. At the time of his death, he was assigned to the 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, which is normally based in Okinawa, Japan, where he had been serving since June of 2009. His unit was recently sent to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom

Memorial Service Planned

October 30, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Daniel J. Patron, Marine EOD, killed in Afghanistan

Perry grad Daniel J. Patron killed in Afghanistan

Times Reporter  August 7, 2011

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Daniel J. Patron, a 2003 Perry High School graduate, was killed Saturday while detonating a roadside bomb in Sangin, Afghanistan, in the Helmand province.

Patron, 26, was killed at 11:19 a.m.

Patron, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was a member of the 2nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, which was attached to Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, according to the family. He was deployed to Afghanistan in April. Patron’s duty was scheduled to end last month, but he chose to extend his service.

He is the son of Kathy and Frank Patron, and brother of Matthew Patron. He and his wife, Cody (Drace) Patron, were married two years.

Patron’s parents were flying to Dover, Del., Sunday morning to retrieve their son’s body.

Kathy Patron said her son enlisted after high school because of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His parents called their son “selfless, brave and gutsy.”

“Funny, handsome, very, very well liked,” Kathy Patron said. “He was a fine man. He had a beautiful smile.”

Patron was stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C. Funeral arrangements are pending, though his mother said he will be buried here.

Please see the original here

August 7, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Improvised Explosive Devices | , , , , , | Leave a comment

EOD Marines remember fallen, immortalize them

“Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends,” John 15:13

This quotation is inscribed on a plaque that rests on a tri-faced structure within the air station’s Combined Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit building.

MCAS Yuma News
Besides the plaque, the wall is covered in portraits of Marines, 35 in all. The first portrait is of Gunnery Sgt. Michael Clark, the last of Gunnery Sgt. Justin Schmalstieg. All the photos show Marines in either full combat gear or a candid portrait in civilian attire. There is not an official photo in the whole bunch, as one might see when visiting one of the squadrons and seeing the who’s-who wall of personnel.

No one on the wall is alive.

At the base of the portraits are various ribbons, from the Combat Action Ribbon to the Global War on Terrorism Medal. Other memorabilia includes photos from the funerals as well as their programs. In the center is the EOD insignia that’s sometimes mistaken for air crewman wings. Flanking the emblem are cutouts of Iraq and Afghanistan, the theaters for the operations where the Marines memorialized lost their lives.   Please read the entire story here

March 3, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Iraq | , , , , | Leave a comment