Friday, September 10, 2010
Grandmother Graduates From Explosive Ordnance Disposal School
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO, Sept. 10, 2010 – The Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal School at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is one of the toughest schools in the military, with a dropout rate that often exceeds 50 percent. But an Army specialist and 42-year-old grandmother from North Carolina has proven that when it comes to meeting tough challenges, age sometimes is just a state of mind.
Spc. Jennifer E. Moore graduated today from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal School, where she has spent close to a year learning the delicate techniques of how to recover, evaluate, safely render harmless and dispose of live ordnance.
For Moore, paying attention to the details of such things as ordnance identification, disarmament, transportation and disposal, as well as rigging principles, reconnaissance procedures and nuclear, biological and chemical training can literally help save lives on the battlefield.
Moore entered the Army after graduating from high school in Charlotte, N.C., in 1986 and finished her first stint in 1990. She admitted that the year-long training has been tough.
"Training, for me, has been mentally and physically exhausting,” she said. “There is so much you need to learn to make it through this school, and so little time to learn it.
"The extreme heat and high humidity here in Florida added to the challenge when we had to perform EOD procedures wearing our protective clothing that included the bomb suit and chemical suit,” she continued. “However, the school has been one of the most awesome experiences of my life."
The Navy EOD school trains close to 2,000 students each year from all branches of service, and while each person volunteers for a different reason, Moore said, she had reservations at first.
"I enlisted in the Army after a 19-year separation,” she said, “and due to my high test scores, I figured I would have a long list of jobs available to me."
However, Moore said, at the time she enlisted, the EOD specialty was the only one on the table.
"I had wanted to come back into the Army for years, and EOD school was the only one available to me at the time, so, I took it,” she said. “I decided to continue with the training and see if I liked it. I stayed in EOD because I love it."
Moore and many of her fellow students believe that the extensive training they endure will play an important part in their future, especially during upcoming deployments.
"I'm hoping that the training I had here, along with my continued training in the field, will help me part of a team that has an impact in saving lives," she said.
While youth has its advantages in the military, Moore acknowledged, much of her success lies in having the right attitude.
"I have learned that age and gender won't stop you from finishing a tough school like this one,” she said. “But a lack of will can. The most challenging part of this training, for me, was stepping out of the civilian world and into the ordnance world with absolutely no background. I have to say, that my favorite part of the course was dealing with nukes and weapons of mass destruction."
Moore said that while her family was supportive, early on they had definite reservations. "My family initially thought I was crazy to come to EOD school,” she said. “They seem to have accepted it over time and look forward to having me back now that I've graduated. Of course, my friends still think I'm nuts."
Her first assignment is scheduled to be Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.