The US Army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal units are struggling to keep a healthy stock of combat-ready troops, suffering from morale lows, equipment problems and a very high tempo of operations.
Between being deployed on a near-constant basis to working with local law enforcement when they come back home, there isn’t much incentive to stay in EOD, particularly with so few perks to being part of the Army’s “bomb squad.”
“We are burned out and it makes people not want to stay,” said an active-duty senior enlisted Army EOD tech who spoke to Task & Purpose on the condition of anonymity. “It makes us want to find other career options.”
Military planning officials reportedly tend to undercut the EOD field when calculating how many technicians they need, particularly when it comes to domestic operations.
“The workload has gone up exponentially while the people available to do that mission in the Army has gone down,” said one Army EOD officer, who also spoke to Task & Purpose on the condition of anonymity.
Already understaffed, the problem of manpower is aggravated by the fact that nobody seems to want to be in EOD, with recruiting hitting a near-rock bottom low over the past 9-years.
“People like to feel valued, and when they take that away people get frustrated and leave,” one enlisted tech added. “And it’s disappointing because we don’t fail. We never fail. We always accomplish our mission.”
According to U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) data, the army only recruited 250 people for the job, an 80% decrease since 2010.
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