Bomb disposal techs welcome extra pay
Stars and Stripes June 16, 2007
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — When most people see a bomb, they run.
When explosive ordnance disposal technicians see one — homemade or otherwise — they move closer.
Dangerous work is expected of EOD servicemembers, so yes, the recent addition to their paychecks is appreciated and deserved, EOD techs at Yokosuka Naval Base said Wednesday.
EOD is one of the only rates at Yokosuka affected by this month’s hike in special duty assignment pay for critically undermanned areas needed in the war on terror.
Basic techs and senior techs got an extra $150, bringing their monthly SDAP totals to $300 and $450, respectively. Master techs saw a $75 increase, bringing their total to $450 — the maximum allowed.
And they earn it, said Chief Petty Officer Jason Kennedy and Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Smith on Wednesday.
“We spend a lot of time deployed,” said Kennedy, who has been deployed to Iraq four times in the past five years. “And we are always working outside the wire … always.”
Beyond defusing explosives, the techs also are called on to dispose of conventional, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. And they must be willing to go underwater and jump from planes in order to get to the ordnance.
“There’s a reason why our community is so small and undermanned,” Kennedy said.
The raise is appreciated, but it’s not the only reward of the job, senior EOD techs at Yokosuka said.
“It’s an extra bag or two of groceries,” Kennedy said. “It’s not going to buy anyone a Porsche. But it’s not all about the money. I like my job and the people I work with. It’s what I’ve chosen as my career.”