A U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company was awarded the Valorous Unit Award for its service in Afghanistan.
The 705th EOD Company received the award for heroism against enemy forces during its 2011 Afghanistan deployment.
The EOD company is assigned to the 63rd EOD Battalion, 52nd EOD Group, 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives). Stationed on 19 posts in 16 states, 20th CBRNE Soldiers and civilians counter Weapons of Mass Destruction, eliminate CBRNE threats and defeat improvised explosive devices.
The Fort Polk-based 705th EOD Company covers Louisiana and Mississippi and defeats unexploded rounds on Fort Polk’s Joint Readiness Training Center, the U.S. Army’s premier light infantry training center.
The 705th EOD Company deployed to Afghanistan to support the Folk Polk-based 4th Brigade Combat Team from the 10th Mountain Division, which also received the Valorous Unit Award for conducting a complex air assault into an enemy safe haven in Chak-e Wardak, Afghanistan.
During Operation Dagger Fury, 4th BCT Soldiers took the fight to enemy forces in an area where no International Security Assistance Forces had fought before.
Maj. Aaron C. Teller, who serves in the 20th CBRNE Command’s Current Operations Office, commanded the company during the deployment.
“The 705th was deployed in the most kinetic, lethal and IED-infested battlespace in Regional Command-East Afghanistan,” said Teller, a native of Hillsville, Virginia.
Teller said the company conducted more than 750 EOD combat missions, eliminating 187 improvised explosive devices, 80 unexploded rounds and 67 weapons caches during the year-long deployment.
Supporting five maneuver battalion task forces and the brigade-focused targeting force, the company participated in 320 route clearance missions and 50 named operations spanning a battlespace of 15,000 square kilometers.
According to Teller, the company braved severe winter weather and fought in rugged mountain terrain.
“Day in and day out, 705th Soldiers put their lives on the line to ensure the safety of their brothers and sisters in arms,” said Teller. “The professional caliber, valor and heroism of the Soldiers I commanded can’t be fully captured within an award citation but will always live on within the people they encountered and served with.”
Teller also paid tribute to the EOD Soldiers his company lost during the deployment.
“We must remember the three 705th Soldiers that made the ultimate sacrifice during this deployment while conducting EOD operations — Staff Sgt. Chauncy Mays, Staff Sgt. Michael Garcia and Spc. Christopher Stark, as well as their families left behind,” said Teller. “Those that served with these heroes will always be bound by the common bond of knowing these great Soldiers.”
Article courtesy of Walter Ham, 20th CBRNE Command, edited for context and format.