Ordnance unit prepares for possible Bosnia deployment

By LINDA STARK


A Fort Sill unit is among the 22 U.S. Army units based in the United States which have been identified for potential deployment in support of the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia.

Approximately 20 members of the 61st Ordnance Detachment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) 47th Combat Support Battalion, 214th Field Artillery Brigade, started final preparations Tuesday for possible deployment.

Preparations included completing needed medical and dental care, and updating soldiers' records. DNA matching, vaccinations and booster shots, as well as legal matters, were all part of the preparations.

Capt. Aaron Talney, Staff Judge Advocate office, briefed the soldiers about the need for wills and a power of attorney, cautioning them to be careful who they leave that potentially powerful document with.

"Morale is high; my soldiers are professionals," said Capt. Leo Bradley, 61st EOD detachment commander.

Bradley said while the unit as a whole has never deployed overseas, individual members have. "We are an independent unit, capable of deploying and operating by ourselves as part of a task force." The soldiers are experts with not only U.S. munitions, but are trained on foreign munitions as well, he said.

"Ordnance is always very important," he said. "It's very hazardous. There are some very dangerous things laying on the battlefields over there, and it's our mission to go in and make it safe for the other soldiers over there. Essentially we are the Army's bomb squad."

The EOD soldiers are well-trained for their mission. "The Explosives Ordnance Disposal School is approximately eight months long," he said. It is run in several phases all around the country, with phase one at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.; phase two at Indianhead Naval Weapons Station, Md.; and phase three at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

"The training involves basic demolition and explosive skills, how to deal with nuclear, biological and chemical munitions, how to conduct a proper reconnaissance of coordinates, how to identify it and how to render it safe, using appropriate methods," Bradley said.

Twenty-one other units have also been recently identified for possible deployment in support of IFOR. In some cases, only elements of the unit may deploy. In addition, individual soldiers with unique qualifications or specialties may be identified on a case-by-case basis to augment units deploying to Bosnia. The other units currently identified for potential deployment are:

Fourth Battalion, 325th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Fort Bragg, N.C.
362nd Engineer Company, Fort Bragg, N.C.
586th Engineer Company (Float Bridge), Fort Benning, Ga.
54th Quartermaster Company, Fort Lee, Va.
41st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachment, Fort Bliss, Texas.
546th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Control Team, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
84th Combat Stress Detachment, Fort Carson, Colo.
102nd Quartermaster Company (Petroleum, Oil, Lubricants), Fort Campbell, Ky.
403rd Transportation Company, Fort Bragg, N.C.
55th Signal Company (Combat Camera), Fort Meade, Md.
319th Military Intelligence Battalion, Fort Bragg, N. C. (Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System).
303rd Military Intelligence Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas.
55th Engineer Company (Medium Girder Bridge), Fort Riley, Kan.
4th Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Group, Fort Bragg, N.C.
96th Civil Affairs Battalion, Fort Bragg, N.C.
10th Special Forces Group, Fort Carson, Colo.
528th Special Operations Support Battalion, Fort Bragg, N.C.
112th Special Operations Signal Battalion, Fort Bragg, N.C.
3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, Hunter Army Airfield, Ga.
1st Special Forces Group, Fort Lewis, Wash.
5th Special Forces Group, Fort Campbell, Ky.