Colloquially referred to as “The Crab” because of the shape formed by a gravity bomb superimposed over two crossed lightning bolts, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Badge is one of the few military badges issued in the same form to both officers and enlisted personnel across all branches of the United States Armed Forces.
Nearly sixty years ago (1947), the Department of Defense assigned the responsibility for basic EOD training to the Navy, and in 1971 it became the “one-stop shop” for the foundational training required by all EOD Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines. But before enlisted Army personnel head to the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal at Eglin Air Force Base for nearly 40 weeks of advanced EOD training, they first attend a roughly eight-week introductory training program at the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps and School.
Conducted by the Munitions and EOD Training Department, the course comprises hands-on training and evaluation—one training module requires aspiring EOD Specialists to assemble and transport an explosive charge—as well as written tests and reading assignments that require a minimum score of 85 percent to pass. The standards are high not only because of the deadly seriousness of the coursework, but also because things only get tougher as the learning progresses. The EOD course has a failure rate of fifty percent, and the Army wants to make sure the Soldiers it sends to Eglin are capable of completing the program.
In addition to completing EOD training and earning the MOS 89D (Officers must have an SSI of 89E), Soldiers must be assigned to a TOE or TDA EOD position for at least 18 months in order to have authorization for permanent wear of the Badge. To be awarded the Senior EOD Badge, the candidate must have a total of 36 months of EOD service (not necessarily consecutive) after having earned the Basic Badge, as well as be recommended by his or her immediate commander. Master Badges require a full sixth months of service as a Senior EOD Badge holder.