VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) held a ceremony to recognize recipients of the annual Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Leadership Awards at the Carl Brashear Conference Center aboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek Oct. 12.
Rear Adm. Brian Brakke, commander of NECC and NECC Pacific, presented the Commander Kevin Childre Excellence Award to Lt. Gary Simpson, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 11. The award is presented annually to one EOD officer or technician dedicated to mentoring, developing, and training EOD leaders.
Members of the EOD community on hand for the ceremony agreed that Simpson was deserving of this award.
“He keeps training the team and preparing them to go to war on his mind at all times and that is always his priority,” said Lt. Cmdr. Zach Scheetz, executive officer for EODMU-11. “He absolutely cares and takes care of the teams in everything he does.”
Brakke also presented the Rear Admiral Draper L. Kauffman Leadership Award to Lt. Ralph Grossman, formerly assigned to EODMU-11 and currently a post-graduate student at Harvard University. The award is presented annually to one deserving EOD officer who serves in a platoon or company commander position.
“I’m humbled and honored,” said Grossman. “I owe this award to all the fine enlisted Sailors I’ve had the pleasure of working with for the past couple of years.”
The Force Master Chief Anthony Santino Leadership Award went to Senior Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Matthew Strawn, formerly assigned to EODMU-2 and currently assigned to Naval School EOD at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The award is presented to one EOD chief or senior chief petty officer technician serving in an operational or training leading chief petty officer billet.
Each of these peer-nominated awards recognizes quiet professionals who demonstrate excellence in leadership and embody the Navy EOD Ethos. According to Brakke, coming together to celebrate these awards year after year is an opportunity for remembering the community’s legacy.
“The leadership we’re recognizing here today serves to honor those who have worn the crab before us, who set the standard for our warriors today, and who pave the way for our future force,” said Brakke.
U.S. Navy EOD is the world's premier combat force for countering explosive hazards and conducting expeditionary diving and salvage.