TCM - Explosive Ordnance Disposal - History


Meaning of EOD Badge


THE WREATH is symbolic of the achievements and laurels gained by minimizing accident potentials, through the ingenuity and decotion to duty of its members. It is in memory of the EOD personnel who gave their lives while performing EOD duties.

THE BOMB was copied from the design of the World War II Bomb Disposal Badge; the bomb represents the historic and major objective of the EOD attack, the unexploded bomb. The three fins represent the major ares of nuclear, conventional and chemical/biological wargare.

THE LIGHTNONG BOLTS symbolize the potential destructive power of the bomb and the courage and professionalism of EOD personnel in their endeavors to reduce hazards as well as to render explosive ordnance harmless.

THE SHIELD represents the EOD mission which is to protect personnel and property in the immediate area from an inadvertent detonation of hazardous ordnance.


Bomb disposal in the United States dates back to April of 1941. EOD developed as an outgrowth of the British experience with German ordnance. The United States was not yet at war, but we were actively preparing for that eventuality. It was expected that if the United States entered the war, we would experience bombing of our cities and industries. As a result, the need for a bomb disposal program in this country received immediate attention.

In April 1941, the School of Civilian Defense was organized at the Chemical Warfare School, Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, and part of the training was to be bomb disposal. The Commandant of the Chemical Warfare School requested assistance from the War Department to set up the Bomb Disposal School. The request was approved and forwarded to General Julian S. Hatcher, who was the Commanding General of the Ordnance Training Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. General Hatcher selected Major Thomas J. Kane to provide assistance.

It was decided that both military and civilian bomb disposal personnel would be trained by the Army. All responsibility for bomb disposal was placed under the US Army Ordnance Department. The location of the Bomb Disposal School was changed from Edgewood Arsenal to the Ordnance Training Center, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. In the interim the Navy, under a directive from the Chief of Naval Operations, instituted a Mine Disposal School in May of 1941. In December of 1941, the Chief of Naval Personnel issued another directive for the formation of the Navy Bomb Disposal School.

EOD in the United States is a joint service program. Each branch of the service has specific responsibilities assigned to it by DOD. Some of these responsibilities are unique to one service and some overlap between two or more services. In 1947, the Navy was assigned Joint Service responsibility for basic EOD training. In 1971, the Navy was designated as the single manager for all common EOD training and technology. Today, training continues to be provided by the inter-service staff at the Explosive Ordnance Schools located at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

Successful officer and enlisted graduates are awarded the joint-service EOD badge which dates back to 1957. This badge is also officially recognized by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.