Grissom EOD defuses the competition, takes third in Army event

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexis Morris

For the first time ever, U.S. Air Force Airmen competed in the U.S. Army’s 52nd Ordnance Group Team of the Year competition.

From March 11-15, 2024, teams from both branches, as well as members of the British, Tunisian and German Armed Forces, competed with each other to demonstrate their unit’s superiority in a number of EOD-centric skills. The sole Air Force team, composed of Tech. Sgt. David Osborne Jr., Staff Sgt. Stephan Wojciechowski and Staff Sgt. Rockwood Bullard, all reservists assigned to the 434th Civil Engineer Squadron, placed third in the competition.

“Across all four services, we all go to the same school, we all have the same badge that we wear and we can pick up just about any mission set that anybody else can do, with very few exceptions,” said Osorne Jr., EOD operations noncommissioned officer in charge while commenting on the team’s performance. “That said, we didn’t know what to expect. Nobody's ever done an Army competition before, we didn't know what we were walking into and I think they were impressed with how we did. I know we were pleasantly surprised too.”

Held at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, which spans over 100,000 acres, the various teams challenged one another in events ranging from improvised explosive device identification and disarmament to Army-based “soldier skills” such as land navigation.

To kick off the final morning, the competitors participated in the EOD137 workout, which honors the 137 EOD technicians that have paid the ultimate sacrifice since 9/11.

While the Army teams competed for a seat in the All-Army Team of the Year competition, scheduled for April 22-26, 2024 at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, the Germans simultaneously conducted events throughout the week to qualify select competitors for the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge.

Qualification events for the badge included a marksmanship event, 1,000-meter run, flexed arm hang, 12-kilometer ruck and a uniformed, 100-meter swim which must be completed in under four minutes. Of the 20 competitors that took on the challenge, only nine received the badge with Grissom’s trio being the only team to qualify all of its members.

“It's kind of like if you've never watched professional football but you've been playing football on your own for a while and then you show up to a game. Are you gonna be good? Are you going to be smashed into the ground?” said Bullard, 434 CED EOD technician. “And we did good. We pushed our limits on several things and had a really good time doing it.”