E.O.D. Olympics

The Navy command responsible for testing bomb-disposal tactics and equipment for the entire U.S. military recently has hosted its first annual "Explosive Ordnance Disposal Top Tech Challenge," a three-day slate of competitions for Navy bomb squads, as I report over at Military.com:EOD_test.JPGEOD Training and Evaluation Unit Two, part of Naval Expeditionary Combat Command headquartered at this facility near Virginia Beach in southern Virginia, in November welcomed five two-man teams from Navy bases around the world, according to the unit's skipper, Commander Tom Smith, 42."It's an absolute uber-challenge," Smith says of the competition, going on to describe grueling events including booby-trap defusing, rappelling, land navigation and a "limpet mine" challenge where bomb technicians must dive into a "cold lake on a cold morning" to find and disable a replica of the kinds of mines terrorists might attach to the bottom of a ship."We threw the kitchen sink at them," Smith laughs.This year, an EOD team from Sigonella, Italy took top honors. Calling the competition a success, Smith adds that his unit is already planning for next years. He says the 2007 Challenge will involve as many as a dozen teams.Read on.--David AxeP.S. -- Slate has a sweet roundup of Iraq war comics that includes my book WAR FIX as well as cool entries from Brian Wood (DMZ) and Joe Sacco (WAR JUNKIE). Check it out.

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