Originally formed in 2011 by Reps. Rick Crawford (R-AR) and Susan Davis (D-CA), the congressional Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Caucus has been reaffirmed for the 115th Congress with the addition of co-chairs Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) and Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN).
Mast is a former Army EOD technician who served in Afghanistan. While clearing a path for Army Rangers in Kandahar on September 19, 2010, he stepped on an IED, resulting in the amputation of both his legs and one of his fingers.
Waltz is a retired command Sg. Maj. with the Army National Guard and ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
Davis serves on the House Committee on Armed Services where she is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel.
In announcing the continuation of the EOD Caucus, an announcement stated, “Across all branches of our military, EOD technicians risk their lives to protect others by rendering safe every type of ordnance from hand grenades to improvised explosive devices (IEDs), to naval mines, to nuclear weapons and more. These highly specialized EOD technicians perform their mission on land and at sea, as well as operating not only in theater abroad but also by partnering with civil authorities and lending their expertise to neutralize domestic threats.”
“Despite pressures of war, terrorism and the critical missions that these warriors fulfill, our nation’s relatively small bomb disposal forces often don’t receive the credit they deserve for the risks they take to protect civilians and their fellow soldiers,” the announcement said.
Crawford, who served in the Army as an EOD technician for four years, said, “In an age where we see lone-wolf attacks becoming more routine, the mission of EOD forces to render safe all manner of explosive devices is more important than ever before. As a caucus, it is our job to educate other members of Congress about EOD’s role not only in keeping our troops safe abroad, but also in supporting law enforcement state side. I’m looking forward to advancing legislation this year that ensures our EOD forces have the resources and capabilities they need to perform their crucial mission.”
Davis said, "I am honored to co-chair this very important caucus, which touches a particularly important segment of our military, one which has borne the strain of over a decade of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than has been typical."
“The scars on my body are a daily reminder that the radical extremists we are fighting in the war on terror want nothing more than to destroy our way of life,” Mast said. “While I was in the Army, I worked every day to help keep my fellow soldiers safe from this enemy. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to build on my personal experiences to help support the next generation of EOD forces.”
Walz said, “Our EOD forces are true American heroes who put their lives on the line to keep our troops and communities safe. The least we can do is ensure they have the tools and resources they need. I look forward to working with my colleagues in this Congress to support these brave men and women and the work they do.”
“With increased concerns of terrorism in the wake of recent attacks, many are realizing that the nature of attacks against US forces or on US soil have fundamentally changed,” the caucus said, noting, “Enemies attempting to harm our nation will increasingly turn to lone-wolf tactics, which very well may include explosive devices that our bomb technicians will be counted on to render safe.”
The unofficial motto of EOD, “Initial Success or Total Failure,” is not taken lightly by members in the field, the caucus emphasized. “It reflects their training, attitude and drive to be the absolute best at what they do, while still knowingly accepting both the dangers and the fate that may await them.”