ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- American and South Korean Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians are forging stronger bonds to confront and defeat explosive devices in support of military operations on the Korean Peninsula.
Members of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army Ammunition Command recently visited the headquarters for the U.S. Army’s 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazards formation.
Soldiers and U.S. Army civilians from 20th CBRNE Command deploy from 19 bases in 16 states to take on the world’s most dangerous hazards.
Maj. Gen. Antonio V. Munera, the commanding general of 20th CBRNE Command, met with Republic of Korea Army Brig. Gen. Chang Ho Kang, the commanding general of the ROK Army Ammunition Command, during the visit.
Headquartered on Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, the 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the active duty U.S. Army’s EOD technicians and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) specialists, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, five Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordination Teams and three Nuclear Disablement Teams.
Col. Christopher P. Bartos, the operations officer for the 20th CBRNE Command, said the meeting will lead to future training opportunities between to the allied militaries.
“The purpose of the ROK Ammunition Support Command visit was to start the dialogue on how best to collaborate on future U.S.-ROK EOD training and where the 20th can advise on future ROK EOD structure and capability,” said Bartos, a seasoned U.S. Army EOD officer from Edgewater, Florida. “To some degree, the discussion focused on gaining better understanding of each command's capabilities to strengthen interoperability between our EOD forces.”
"We learn from the ROK Army, they learn from our forces, and we become better together,” said Bartos.
According to Bartos, the allies plan to schedule working groups that can advise on command capabilities and schedule training engagements below the platoon level.
Sgt. Maj. Joseph O. Richardson, the 20th CBRNE Command operations sergeant major and the senior EOD noncommissioned officer at the command headquarters, has built relationships that will yield new opportunities for U.S. and ROK EOD training, said Bartos.
The 20th CBRNE Command routinely serves with South Korean military units, from the ROK Nuclear Characterization Teams to the ROK CBRN Defense Command. The U.S. military has 28,500 service members stationed in South Korea who help to maintain security on the Korean Peninsula and stability in Northeast Asia.