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The Navy relieved a decorated explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) officer on Thursday due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command, the Navy announced on Friday.
Combat engineers are very yin and yang, always building this then destroying that, responsible for creating building bases, bridges and roads and destroying enemy land mines, barricades and fortifications. Sappers, as they're often called, are basically construction workers with guns, ready to pick up a shovel or a rifle at any moment.
U.S. Army combat engineers have played a pivotal role in every war of the last century, and that role that has changed drastically with each new conflict. During the Korean War, sappers they were instrumental in slowing down the North Korean advance in the early days of the war by destroying bridges. The "tunnel rats" of Vietnam were tasked with clearing the infamously complex tunnel systems that the enemy used for transporting troops and equipment, facing hand grenades, traps and the constant threat of a cave-in.
During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combat engineers took on a new role: helping rebuild the infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, and filling the gaps of the understaffed EOD teams. Engineers are often given the role of route clearance, which is critically important given the enemy's fondness for land mines and IEDs.
Watch the video above to learn about the unique role combat engineers have played throughout every major war — and find out exactly where the term 'sapper' comes from in the first place.
Nine years after losing both legs in Afghanistan, he's found purpose in family, friends and inspiring others
There's a joke that Joey Jones likes to use when he feels the need to ease the tension in a room or in his own head.
To calm himself down, he uses it to remind himself of the obstacles he's had to overcome. When he faces challenges today — big or small — it brings him back to a time when the stakes were higher.
Jones will feel out a room before using the line. For nearly a decade, Jones, 33, has told his story to thousands of people, given motivational speeches to NFL teams and acted alongside a three-time Academy Award-winning actor.
On Tuesday afternoon, he stood at the front of a classroom at his alma mater, Southeast Whitfield High School in Georgia. The room was crowded with about 30 honor students.
It took about 20 minutes, but Jones started to get more comfortable as the room warmed up to him. A student asked about how he deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I believe in post-traumatic growth," Jones said. "That means you go through tough and difficult situations and on the back end through recovery, you learn strength."
Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
The Marine Corps may one day launch crawling unmanned robots from ships to clear paths through deadly minefields for approaching assault troops to come ashore.
‘A huge morale hit’ — Army EOD techs are stuck between plummeting recruitment levels and skyrocketing workloads
Explosive ordnance disposal units across the Army are struggling to train for combat operations amid both a personnel shortfall and a surge of domestic protection missions, a dangerous combination some EOD techs say has compromised their overall readiness and left their comrades burned out.
"We are burned out and it makes people not want to stay," said an active-duty senior enlisted Army EOD tech who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "It makes us want to find other career options."
Former Army EOD tech gets 5 years probation for trying to sell guns and explosives to buyers in Mexico
After a pair of Army explosive ordnance disposal technicians were indicted on federal charges for attempting to sell weapons and explosives to smugglers headed to Mexico, one of the two men involved has been sentenced after taking a plea deal, according to court documents filed on Wednesday.