The Vietnam War is characterized by the presence of particular military units coming from the United States. One of the important military units is the Explosive Ordnance Disposal units or the EOD men. These individuals are trained so that they can detonate bombs, especially bombs that are dud and for some reason was not able to detonate. These bombs need to be detonated, deactivated or rendered useless so that they cannot be used by the enemy.
Vietnamese soldiers are very capable of re-using explosives they come across, even those coming from the US. EOD is important for the life saving role it performed during its involvement in Vietnam. Introduction The Vietnam War is one of the well-known wars which involved the US forces. Although it is not a popular win considering how the US is split regarding the role and participation of the US in this conflict, the Vietnam War allowed the US to display the capability and importance of one of its military assets – its ability for bomb disposal.
The Viet-Cong, the main enemy of the US troops in Vietnam, is a group of soldiers that are very skilled in guerrilla warfare and fighting in the rural and forests settings. Part of their skill in fighting is the use of bombs, often as part of traps designed to stop, maim, destroy, render incapable and even kill not just foot soldiers but also tanks, armoured vehicles, jeeps and other military units and transport and combat vehicles.
The practice of bomb disposal is an important aspect of military action and military capability. Because of that, the EOD is considered as an important aspect of the US military force and the US military capability in many places in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Establishing this idea is hinged in the discussion and analysis of the EOD or Explosive Ordnance Disposal and its participation, role, importance and other related aspects in the Vietnam War as supported and documented by related, competent and authoritative sources.
With the use of bombs and the high possibility of encountering problems involving bombs, particularly ordnance that has not exploded, it has become imperative that the US military presence is augmented by a unit that is capable in handling EOD chores, thus, the rise in importance and significance of EOD units in Vietnam, who often are delegated with one of the most dangerous, and exclusive task.
This is considering the fact that non EOD units are trained merely for basic bomb disposal and the rising complexities in bomb design makes it difficult and dangerous for the ordinary soldier to assume and presume sufficient capability for such task, necessitating the need for the presence of EOD units. One platoon leader serving in Vietnam echoed this sentiment when he explained that “my confidence in my demolition work was strong, but destroying so large a bomb was too big a job for me. A radio request secured the assistance of an explosive ordnance demolition detachment (Lanning, 2007, p.
98). ” EOD participation in the Vietnam War has its own set of stories and resulted to certain effects as well as complexities and contributed to the changes in warfare. EOD and the Vietnam War The Vietnam War has been popularize in mass media with stories about fighting in the hamlet, helicopter gunships firing over rice fields, war crimes and human rights abuses committed by US soldiers, the increasing death toll of dead American soldiers in one of the bloodiest wars in the modern history and the excellent jungle warfare that the Vietnamese used to overpower and frustrate the American forces.
Hardly known aspect of the Vietnam War and the US’ participation in this war is the presence of the EOD and the tasks that the EOD units have to perform everyday, which varies depending on the type of ordnance and explosive ammunition involved in the situation, how it was handled and how the bomb disposal turned out. Like some of the elite units in the American military, EOD men is elite in the sense that they among the first front liners in the battlefield.
“Wherever marines went ashore – and they were often the first American troops to go ashore – EOD guys were among them (Swift, 2003, p. 103). ” And this was the case in Vietnam as well, since American troops first have to make sure that where they will be creating stations and fire bases are safe and free from explosives and that there are men in the field ready to take that task should the need arise, making EOD in Vietnam an opportunity as well for soldiers to be a part of something special and unique. The Vietnam War
The Vietnam War is about the move of South Vietnamese forces to break away from the communist North. The US, which at the time was actively fighting the spread of communism especially in the Asian region, forged an alliance with the South Vietnamese troops and helped them fight the North, which in turn, was supported by Communist countries like China and Russia. Fighting in a modern era, the Vietnam War allowed countries to display their own full military capabilities and strengths. This includes the use of explosive bombs and ammunitions.
Sources of explosion comes in different sizes, from the big bombs dropped by planes, the rockets fired from stationary or mobile positions and those which can be considered as improvised bombs that were scattered in many hidden positions in the jungles and concrete battlegrounds of Vietnam. Bombs, during the Vietnam War, came from many sources. There those coming from bomber planes; there were those that came out of cannons or from moving vehicles like tanks; while there are others which are planted and created by soldiers in the infantry.
Not all of these bombs explode. Some of them are commonly known as duds since it failed to explode. However, this does not mean it wouldn’t. Because of that, it is important for troops occupying a certain area during the Vietnam War to have these bombs diffused and deactivated to avoid unnecessary and unplanned deaths because of unexpected explosions coming from bombs that are not diffused and deactivated (Swift, 2003, p. 103). EOD
The EOD is a unit in the military which has a long history, starting from the British bomb disposal units fighting in the first and second world wars and in European conflicts, until the US undertook the initiative to create the same capability and started the formation of its EOD programs that will last until today. By the time Vietnam War erupted, EOD units in the US have been sufficiently trained and were capable in handling bomb disposal problems albeit the success of the EOD operations is not100 percent.
Just the same, the EOD units operating in Vietnam has made a significant contribution in the campaign of the US in Vietnam. EOD during the Vietnam War features a methodology that involves the use of the most basic equipment, unlike today when many modern technologies and equipment is used to make bomb disposal tasks safer, easier and faster (Popular Mechanics, 1967, p. 201). “Much of the equipment used by EOD men looks like the tools found in anyone’s home workshop (Popular Mechanics, 1967, p. 201). ” EOD in Vietnam War EOD is deeply involved in Vietnam.
Proof of this is the fact that soldiers serving for EOD units confessed how they are often utilized by many different units since almost every unit encounter bomb related problems in Vietnam. “After his arrival at beautiful Bien Hoa on May 5, 1965, Mike found himself shuffled around to every unit that needed an EOD specialist (173rd Airborne Brigade: Sky Soldiers, 2006, p. 146). ” The main involvement of EOD in Vietnam during the Vietnam War is to provide the US forces and its allies including South Vietnam forces with the ability to handle the problem of unexploded ordnance.
Unexploded ordnance is found in many different cases and in many different situations, from booby traps and mines in the jungles and in the urban areas of battle in Vietnam to unexploded munitions resulting from bombings and the presence of bombs designed to destroy facilities and bases like ports, airstrips, supply lines, etc (Popular Mechanics, 1967, p. 201). “There is more than booby traps for EOD men to worry about in Vietnam. Plenty of hair-raising assignments involve the more conventional weapons too (Popular Mechanics, 1967, p. 201). ” EOD in Vietnam is mainly all about the presence of EOD specialists mostly coming from the US.
The technology they bring with them and how in their own little way EOD has helped change the outcome of every major or minor battle and the life of the soldiers in Vietnam during the war. The Vietnam War provided the opportunity to display and even improve the EOD capabilities of the US military. Equally important is the fact that the soldiers themselves who are interested in bomb disposal saw the Vietnam War and the involvement of the US and its EOD units in it as an opportunity to train and get more and more experience in real life battle situation.
“With the war on, Vietnam was the place to get practical experience on a combat setting, a way to earn my hazardous duty pay (Bossi, 2005, p. 216)” was the way an EOD specialist view the situation. And with how the Vietnamese fought back the US with the use of US and non-US materials to create bombs of all kinds, EOD men indeed get what they wanted out of Vietnam War, experience-wise, considering the intensity of the fighting and how bombs were intensively and extensively used.
Many important positions in Vietnam where fighting was intense, like Da Nang, featured EOD men who are helping other military units fight the Vietnamese and keep infrastructure safe, usable and free from threat of destruction through bombs (Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, 2007, p. 71). The role of EOD in Vietnam – While EOD is not as popular to the consciousness of the masses unlike how other units who fought in Vietnam became popular (i. e. US Navy SEALS, infantry, etc), EOD has a very significant role in Vietnam War.
Military insiders themselves are conscious and aware of EOD specialists and the significance of their presence and their work in the battlefield. EOD units are called in after detection of bombs, particularly undetonated or unexploded bombs. Military units often will not commence operation in the area until the EOD units are done with their tasks (Popular Mechanics, 1967, p. 201). “EOD team set about the task until, finally, the bomb was declared safe (Popular Mechanics, 1967, p. 201). ” But not all EOD men went out diffusing and deactivating bombs since there are also those who are assigned with other tasks.
For example, there are those who are responsible for ammunitions and supply management. “Command and control of ammunition units in Vietnam was placed in the hands of ordnance battalion headquarters (Stanton, 2003, p. 218). ” While other units like the 52nd Ordnance Group has other tasks, like providing “command and administrative, tactical and technical supervision over conventional and special ammunition and guided missile support companies as well as to operate an EOD (Stanton, 2003, p. 218).
” Because of its attachment to the Navy unit, many EOD units operating in Vietnam during the Vietnam War was focused on clearing water passages of bombs that can hurt or destroy naval and amphibian vehicles, in a way, acting as part of the military unit protecting the waterways used by the military as supply lines during the course of war. The task of EOD men in Vietnam is dangerous. There are those who commented about how EOD men are often excited getting into action. Here is one account to prove the bravado of EOD men and the importance of their role: “One rocket had been launched at the flight line (in Tan Son Nhut)…
But fell short of the mark just inside the outer perimeter fence, and didn’t explode. Thirty or so EOD guys fought amongst themselves to see who would get to take the thing apart (Todeschini, 2005, p. 25). ” Despite the hazards that they have faced EOD produced soldiers who fought in Vietnam who came out not just satisfied with what they have learned in bomb disposal in Vietnam, but is grateful for how much they have learned in practical application, and how, at the end of the day, EOD units found their job very satisfactory, in hindsight. An EOD man described his job as “the best duty in the Navy (Erwin, 2009, p. 87).
” The individual explained that “after eighteen months of training, learning how to disarm bombs, we always detonate – we never disarm. When we find a booby trap or VC explosives, we attach a satchel discharge, light the fuse and run like hell (Erwin, 2009, p. 87). ” The importance of EOD in Vietnam – EOD is important in Vietnam because it helped saved lives and property and equipment. Such impact in the economics of war directly or indirectly contributed to the capability and chances of either force to win or lose in every engagement.
Although the US eventually pulled back its forces from Vietnam and the country eventually overrun by the communist forces, the EOD specialists helped in minimizing casualties among the soldiers and civilians, as well as minimized the extent of destruction on equipment, vehicle and infrastructure important and significant to the US soldiers during the campaign. Bomb disposal is important during the Vietnam War because the warring parties (the Communist-supported North and the US-backed South) both used munitions and bombs to shoot the enemy with, or to explode if triggered.
Some bombs are used as traps and placed in areas wherein the enemy is expected to pass through. Bomb disposal is important in both these two cases. First, bomb disposal is important because during the movement of forces, it is likely that they will come across bombs and munitions fired either by the enemy or fired by them. During an advance or retreat, the troops may come upon bombs and munitions that failed to detonate and explode.
This is where bomb disposal is needed because defending forces needs to make sure that unexploded bombs inside the perimeter they are defending are diffused and deactivated so that it will not hurt, harm or kill their own troops, while attacking troops are also wary of the unexploded bombs some of which may have come from them because of the same reason – they don’t want the bombs that they shot towards the enemy to be the same bomb that will kill their own troops if these bombs that they encounter during the advance is left unattended.