Wounded EOD Technician Shares Experience, Choice
EOD 1st Class John Kremer Wounded After Stepping On Land Mine
Last Updated: 1119 days ago
A wounded sailor who served in the explosive ordinance disposal group shared his story and his brave choice with 10News.Explosive ordinance disposal technicians are a different breed. It's their job to find, disarm and dispose of the roadside bombs, which have become the weapon of choice against coalition forces and are responsible for more than 60 percent of coalition deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.The EOD techs' dangerous and delicate jobs save countless lives, but few people really knew what an EOD was until the Academy Award-winning movie "The Hurt Locker."While that movie was Hollywood, Petty Officer 1st Class John Kremer is reality.Kremer, a self-described thrill seeker, was taught to parachute from 12,000 feet and learned to dispose of bombs on land and beneath 300 feet of water. When he wasn't working, he found other ways to feed his desire for adventure.But two months ago, Kremer and a team member were patrolling a hilltop in Afghanistan for mines."I was starting to head south and he was still heading east and as I got closer to him, I could see him and I went to turn around to start heading back west and that's when I stepped on a land mine," said Kremer.Kremer lost both legs below the knee and said he had some regrets, but not many.A few weeks ago, Kremer, in his wheelchair, re-enlisted and took the oath to once again serve, protect and maybe take that long walk toward the bomb again.When asked why he re-enlisted, Kremer responded, "Because I love my job. I want to be able to do it again [and to] get back, get back into the fight."Kremer was fitted with prosthetics last week. Next, he will go before a medical review board which will determine if he can be cleared for active duty, or in his words, just get back to doing the things he used to do.
EOD Job Requires Physical Strength, Strong Bond
Part of being an EOD tech takes immense physical strength and a strong bond with each other.Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Chime showed 10News a room full of weapons and gear required for Navy EOD training, which include robots, firearms, jumpsuits, dive gear, armored vehicles and the EOD suit. Many EODs train in San Diego with the Navy EOD.In a brief demonstration, 10News learned how difficult it is to walk in the 80-pound protective gear much less dispose of a bomb in it."I'm exhausted and I only went about 20 yards," said 10News anchor Steve Atkinson. "It's like running through sand."Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Childre now trains a new generation of EOD techs, calling them the highest educated, most capable EOD force in the world.Not all of the EODs return home safely, but Childre has found a way to help those wounded EOD soldiers, united in the unbreakable bond.Two years ago, Childre helped create a two-day, 160 mile ride from Santa Monica to San Diego to raise money for the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation. In only one year, the ride became the largest fundraising arm of the foundation. Childre said it's because EODs are a different breed."You have a desire to make a difference," said Childre. "And you have that -- whatever that is -- in you that makes you want to run to the sound instead of away from the sound."For more information, visit the Wounded EOD Warrior website.Also, for information about the annual cycling event to raise money for the Wounded EOD Warriors, click here.