Explosive ordnance disposal officer Army Maj. Nick Drury has seen a lot. With a gamut of assignments that have included duty at Baumholder, Germany; Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland; professional military education at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island; and deployments to Bosnia and Iraq under his belt, he now serves as the deputy chief of operations for the 8th Theater Sustainment Command on Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
His selection to attend the Civil Defense Officers Bomb Disposal Course at the Indian Army College of Military Engineering in Pune, India, brings a new learning opportunity to his career.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity, not only to work with another partner nation, but also understanding the bomb disposal techniques and procedures — how they teach it, how students learn it, and how it’s incorporated into the Indian army,’ he said.
The relationship between U.S. Army Pacific and the Indian army is an important one to regional and global security. Drury is one of only 10 U.S. Army officers selected to attend professional military education at Indian Army’s invitation this year.
Drury served as an infantryman for three and a half years in Germany with the 1st Armored Division’s 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, before transferring to the South Dakota Army Reserve. He served as a basic noncommissioned officer course instructor as a sergeant while attending National American University full-time. The Sept. 11 attacks led him back to serving full-time.
“After Sept. 11 happened, I started seeing a lot of my friends getting ready for deployments, and I just felt like I needed to be a part of it,” he said. However, despite the small amount of time he had been away from the active Army, Drury was surprised by all the additional requirements the Army had for him to come back as a noncommissioned officer, as he wanted to. Knowing he wanted to serve again without the restrictions he was finding, he visited the local ROTC program instead.
“I didn’t necessarily want to go back into the infantry,” he said. “I wanted to do something different. I wanted to go back in as an EOD [noncommissioned officer], but there was a whole bunch of conditions. I wasn’t willing to lose rank, and I didn’t want to go back to an additional basic training. So, I stood my ground and went over to the university’s ROTC department.”
He completed an accelerated program with his previous service experience and commissioned from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Army ROTC in 2003.
Officers must volunteer to become qualified for EOD, and for Army officers, only those in the ordnance branch are eligible to apply. It is considered one of the most demanding and dangerous military specialties.
“Earning my EOD badge would really rate up there as one of the proudest moments in my career so far,” Drury said. “The school is long, and academically it was a little more difficult than I thought it would be. Anyone who has been through it will understand that it’s not just academics. It’s a very anxiety-driven school, in that you’re being challenged so much for fear of failure. There’s a constant pressure on you to do well.”
While his training may be of the greatest value to the EOD community, his presence represents the appreciation U.S. Army Pacific and the Indian army share for professional military education.
“I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to increase my understanding of India and the Indian army and their cultures,” Drury said. “There’s just this common link between the people who serve. I look forward to not only that shared understanding, but also because this is a bomb disposal school, learning the technical knowledge that everyone brings.”
Article adapted from original by Army Maj. Lindsey Elder, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, edited for context and format by CBRNE Central.