A transfer of authority took place between the U.S. Army 63rd Ordnance Battalion. (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) 'Disrupters' and the 184th Ordnance Bn. (EOD) 'Gamblers' during a ceremony held here today.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III, Bagram Airfield commander, presided over the ceremony. He lauded the 63rd Ordnance Bn. for their EOD support of more than 300 combat patrols and more than 1,000 missions.
"This effort adds up to more than 20,000 man-hours, elimination of more than 16,000 explosive hazards, and removal of over 900,000 pounds hazardous net explosive weight from the battlefield…a phenomenal efforts in all regards,” said Thomson.
"Today the Disrupters will wrap up their sixth rotation to the CENTCOM [U.S. Central Command] AOR [Area of Responsibility] and their fourth specifically here in Afghanistan since 9/11," he continued.
Lt. Col. Keith Rowsey and Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Boehme skillfully led Task Force EOD. We were extremely blessed to have them on the team for the past nine months."
Lt. Col. Edward 'Keith' Rowsey and Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew R. Boehme, 63rd EOD commander and command sergeant major, cased their unit colors in preparation for movement back to their home station.
"During our deployment we were very fortunate to work with two outstanding divisions, the 10th Mountain 'Climb to Glory' and the 1st CAV, 'First Team'." said Rowsey.
"To the 717th and 663rd EOD companies, keep doing what you are doing," he continued. "The teams and the Soldiers are performing at a high standard. I am very proud of your accomplishments."
"To the Gambler senior leaders, now it's your time to excel and make Task Force EOD better by enhancing EOD and counter-IED [Improvised Explosive Device] support to U.S., coalition, and NATO partners," Rowsey added.
"We wish you the best and pray you have a safe deployment."
63rd EOD Soldiers will redeploy to their home station at Fort Drum, N.Y.
Thomson welcomed the 184th EOD Bn. who recently arrived from Fort Campbell, Ky., and he spoke about their combat lineage that includes five campaigns in World War II, 15 campaigns in Vietnam, and multiple campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"To Lt. Col. Kelly Tyler and Command Sgt. Maj. Tom Conner, Command Sgt. Maj. Jackson and I welcome you and the Gamblers to the team,” said Thomson, “Your expertise and precision will be called upon each day as we send patrols out to the GDA [Ground Defense Area] and support operations across the CJOA.
“Remain vigilant and ready. There is no doubt we are going to need you in this fight," Thomson concluded.
. Col. Michael 'Kelly' Tyler and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas D. Conner, 184th EOD commander and sergeant major, unfurled their battalion colors signifying their assumption of the mission here in Afghanistan.
"Gen. Thomson, standing here before you is a small, but well-trained team that has dedicated itself to prepare for this moment," said Tyler.
"We are prepared to once again make our contribution to defeat our adversaries, protect our allies, and assist in building regional security for our Afghan partners."