The United States Military EOD School is one of the most challenging and stressful schools in the military. The fail rate alone is one of the highest of any academic institutions in any branch. For an EOD tech, there simply is no room for failure or mistakes.
The joint Navy EOD School in Eglin, Florida hosts all branches of the military: Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Each branch typically recruits, assesses, and runs their own prep course in order to send their best and those most likely to succeed to the joint school in Florida.
When I receive questions about what to do or how to prepare for EOD school, there is only so much I can share with future candidates. There also is only so much you can do as a student to help your chances of success. The tips I share apply not only to EOD school but to all military schools and in life.
THE 3 TOP TIPS I NORMALLY GIVE ARE:
1. DIAL IN YOUR PHYSICAL FITNESS. This tip shouldn’t come as a surprise for those who know me. Although EOD school isn’t very physically challenging; being physically fit in school can help in several ways. Because EOD school is so stressful, the last thing you want to be worried about as a student is physical fitness assessments. By scoring high in your PT, you can also test out of some mandatory PT sessions thereby giving you more time to focus on your own physical fitness needs.
Additionally, demonstrating physical fitness excellence is an easy way to distinguish yourself from your peers. It can also open opportunities to assess for special mission EOD units while in school. Finally, high physical fitness capacity comes in hand while working in the bomb suit, chemical suits, or other PPE during school. The nearly 100lb bomb suit specifically routinely tests students’ physical fitness and preparedness. So dial in your physical fitness!
2. WIN TODAY. Don’t worry about what tomorrow brings. I remember the first day of EOD school Phase 1, a student next to me was already talking about graduation, tests near the end of school, and how he wanted to have the EOD badge. That student had already lost and would quickly fail out. He was looking and stressing about things months down the road instead of the here and now. EOD school can last a year or more. The students that worry about what’s to come in the months ahead typically don’t make it very far. Instead, focus on the here and now. Focus on winning today. Take it one day and one test at a time.
That’s how to win EOD school and life.
3. TEAMWORK. Like every school in the military, no one makes it alone. Although EOD school tests and assesses students at the individual level, the ability of a student is grown from his or her team. The students that study alone, practice alone, eat alone, and try to navigate the school alone never make it to the end.
I have noticed this increasingly while instructing classes that come through school. The classes that have a sense of community, teamwork, and comradery will often make it to the end with almost all their original students still in class. In contrast, the classes that don’t have a sense of unity or familiarity or those that have cliques within them quickly become fragmented and often have higher fail rates within their ranks.
There’s a lot of aspects that go into make a student successful in EOD school. From my experience and observations, Having physical fitness dialed in, focusing on today and not worrying about the tests and days to come, and finally being a team player often result in the greatest success in school and in life.
About the Author:
David Winne is a United States Army Officer and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician. He has combat deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq and is currently an instructor at the joint service EOD school in Florida. You can find him on instagram at @Winnesworld