USAG YONGSAN — Soldiers stationed in South Korea and Marines stationed in Okinawa, Japan, participated in the Explosive Ordnance Joint Asian Pacific Team of the Year Competition at Warrior Base, Paju, South Korea.
The EOD JAPTOY competition is conducted each year to select the best EOD Team in the Asian Pacific Theater. The winning team will go on to compete in the Pacific Command EOD TOY in July.
Six teams of three soldiers each competed in the week-long competition hosted by the 718th Ordnance Company.
“This TOY is designed to assess soldiers’ ability to perform a multitude of different tasks that we expect them to be able to accomplish,” said competition coordinator Sgt. 1st Class David T. Bius.
The competition tested teams on an array of events, ranging from basic Soldier skills to EOD knowledge and proficiency.
“There are a total of nine lanes consisting of anything from a situation with an improvised explosive device strapped to a hostage all the way down to basic unexploded ordnance incidents for the EOD techs here,” said Army 1st Sgt. Jeremy N. Johanson, 718th Ordnance Co.
On the first day, each team had to go through four events within 45 minutes.
“There was a time limit, and that time limit was in place in order to create a sense of urgency to the tasks at hand,” said Marine Sgt. Alfredo Andrade, EOD 3rd Company, 19th Engineer Support Battalion. “But it helped to build our teamwork and brotherhood while being challenged.”
In addition to testing the teams’ technical and tactical skills, the competition fostered camaraderie and cooperation between different branches of the military.
“I have been in the career field more than six years, and I haven’t run into Marines until now,” said Sgt. Christopher D. Salazar, 718th Ordnance Company. “Seeing how they compete, how they operate and how we all interact helps because I can learn from them.”
The winning team amassed a total of 1,139 points and now heads to Hawaii for the Pacific Command EOD competition.
“I’m pretty excited to go to Hawaii,” said Army Staff Sgt. Wayne Malone, 718th Ordnance Co. “We are ready to take the competition to the next level and hopefully win out there.”
The following teams placed first, second and third:
Team 2, 1139 points. Staff Sgt. Wayne Malone, Spc. Patrick Boyland, Spc. Nathan Smith, all from 718th Ordnance Company, Yongsan Garrison
Team 4, 1096 points. Staff Sgt. Richard Nolen, Sgt. Alfredo Andrade, all from EOD 3rd Company, 19th Engineers Support Battalion, Marine Corps, Okinawa
Team 1, 999 points. Staff Sgt. Kellen Jones, Sgt. Christopher D. Salazar, Pfc. Alex Darr, all from 718th Ordnance Company, Yongsan Garrison.