Remarkably unremarkable

Yesterday morning I spent three hours talking with someone who retired after 26 years with the U.S. Navy as a diver and Explosives Ordnance Disposal expert.

We talked about guns and what guns we were carrying (I was carrying my STI Eagle and they had a Ruger LPC in .380) and Boomershoot a little bit. But mostly I listened to story after story of diving, finding, and disposing of unexploded bombs, shells, water heaters, and mines. Detonating 50,000 pounds of explosives in 80 feet of water apparently makes for a nice water column and lots of dead fish for the local natives to harvest. Another story involved a simulated (with conventional explosives) nuclear blast which left a good sized crater as well as making a decent sized wave in the ocean.

After we said good-bye and I was driving away I had this nagging feeling of something that was a little odd. I described the meeting to a friend as “remarkably unremarkable”.

After a half hour or so of thinking about it… Ahhhh ha! I knew what it was.

The stories were told in such a extremely calm, cool voice. There were some smiles, and some facial expressions which indicated they knew the story was interesting but there was barely any change in the pitch or the tempo of the voice. This person was not easily excited and was not particularly emotional.

That is probably a good personality trait to have in your friendly neighborhood EOD specialist.

4 thoughts on “Remarkably unremarkable

  1. Hmmmm….Let me guess.

    50,000# of explosives. 80 feet of water. Locals harvesting the dead fish afterwards.

    Yep, sounds like a Vietnam-era B52D’s Arc Light load, jettisoned off of runway 18 at U Tapao RTNAS, Thailand. Happened a number of times while I was there. The big bomber needed every ounce of it’s available water-augmented thrust to get off the ground in the hot climate, and if the water augmentation system failed to pump in the 8,000# of water into the burner cans of the 8 J-57s properly over the course of the 45 seconds or so of takeoff roll, the airplane was in danger of stalling as the 30% thrust boost went away, so the crew would jettison the load to gain altitude and airspeed. EOD had to then go out there, dive and blow up the bombs afterwards. The Officer’s Club would then have flounder on the menu for quite a while afterwards.

  2. Sorry for the pedantry, but it is Ordnance not ordinance. Strikes a nerve, having spent a large chunk of my Navy career in the EOD community (as a commo guy, not a bomb tech). They are, in general, some of the smartest and calmest bunch of folks I’ve worked with. For the reason you picked up on, they also make great tellers of classic sea stories.

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