CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Military occupational specialties all have set standards for qualification. Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians are ensuring their potential new Marines meet the criteria for the challenging and notoriously dangerous job they are looking to enter.
The EOD Lateral Move screening process is in its second go around aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., and is putting EOD candidates to the test.
The screening consists of a three-day event including learning and completing tasks, running a physical fitness test, and completing an obstacle course where they are faced with real-life scenarios. The goal of the screener was to test each candidate mentally and physically.
The fact that becoming an EOD tech can only be done after having served in a previous MOS coupled with the limited seats at the school house, the need for a screening process is becoming more of an issue, said Master Sgt. Nathan Luther, the operations chief for EOD Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group.
It’s not surprising Marines are being put to the test before being sent off to the school house. Currently the seats at the six-month Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal are filled up through the end of Fiscal Year 2010.
“With seats being filled for through that amount of time, we are able to be more selective in whom we accept,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. Brent Loechler, EOD Chief for EOD Company. “We want to ensure we are not just taking the qualified, but that we are taking the best of the qualified.”
No formal training has been set for screening potential EOD candidates, but there were unofficial ways of screening Marines.
“There have been similar programs for EOD screenings being used in the past,” said Loechler. “We’ve tweaked it to current standards and have invited other local EOD teams to send their interested Marines over as part of the monthly screening.”
Although it is only the second formal screening completed under the new process, the information being gathered by the interested Marines who took part in the screening has been helpful in continuing to improve the current program.
“Improvements to the screening will come with time as more senior EOD technicians get involved,” said Loechler. “Their experiences and knowledge can only enhance what we already have in place.”
The system is still brand new, yet the feed back on how the system will improve the caliber of Marines who are offered acceptance in the field has already been positive, said Luther.
Due to the level of danger these EOD Marines face doing their day-to-day jobs, it is vital to choose not only the best, but the best of the qualified. The Marine Corps is assuring that they have Marines that meet the criteria and are prepared to work under pressure.