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EOD Soldiers clear more than 1,000 rounds from U.S. Air Force training range

  • Published
  • By Walter Ham
  • 20th CBRNE Command

U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Soldiers cleared the way for U.S. Air Force ground attack training by removing more than 1,000 ordnance items from Canon Range on Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. 

To support A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft bombing and strafing training, EOD Soldiers from the Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri-based 763rd Ordnance Company (EOD) managed an ordnance clearance project across more than 100 acres on the Air Force range.

It was the first range clearance operation the 763rd EOD Company has conducted since 2009. 

Managed by the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing on Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, Canon Range is the only aerial gunnery range in the state of Missouri and the range is used by all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Sgt. 1st Class John S. Neely, a platoon sergeant with the 763rd EOD Company, planned and managed the mission with nine personnel, including seven U.S. Army EOD technicians. 

The other 763rd EOD Company members involved in the Air Force range clearance mission were 1st Lt. Frank A. Russell from Orange Grove, Texas; 1st Lt. Raylen L. Dupuis from Polson, Montana; 1st Sgt. Kevin J. Pisani from Lyman, Maine; Sgt. Adam D. Carter from Stafford Springs, Connecticut; Sgt. Robert B. Singleton from Blue Springs, Missouri; Spc. Scott A. Sartin from Kettering, Ohio; and Spc. Logan J. Sterner from Springfield, Illinois.

The EOD Soldiers recovered and cleared more than 1,000 practice 50-pound bombs, said Neely, and they ensured an additional 33 practice 500-pound bombs and 11 practice 40mm projectiles were free of explosive hazards.  

“The mission was done to enable target replacement of vehicles and buildings on Cannon Range for A-10 close air support training,” said Neely, a 15-year U.S. Army veteran from Whiteland, Indiana, who has deployed to Afghanistan and Africa. 

The 763rd EOD Company is assigned to the 242nd EOD Battalion, 71st EOD Group and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command. 

Part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s premier all hazards formation, Soldiers and civilians from 20th CBRNE Command deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to confront and defeat the world’s most dangerous hazards and threats in support of joint, interagency and allied partners.

Headquartered on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the Active Army’s EOD technicians and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear specialists, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, five Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Teams and three Nuclear Disablement Teams.

In addition to deploying for overseas missions, EOD technicians from the 763rd EOD Company also support explosive mitigation missions for any military munitions found in Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota. 

Capt. Tarik B. Jensen, the commander of the 763rd EOD Company, said his EOD Soldiers highlighted their technical and tactical proficiency and expertise during the mission.

“The range clearance conducted by the Soldiers of the 763rd EOD Company enabled the lethality of the U.S. Air Force’s premier ground attack aircraft by keeping the range operational for the nearly daily training missions flown on the range,” said Jensen, a native of Liberty Lake, Washington. “Conducting the clearance imparted ordnance knowledge onto our EOD technicians who researched the various ordnance located on the range, showcasing the technical expertise of EOD technicians.”