A U.S. Navy lieutenant, Jonathan Haase, was awarded a Bronze Star for
valor (as opposed to those awarded for meritorious service) for his aggressive
leadership of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit Five Detachment One
(three EOD teams) for six months in Iraq. During that period (late 2007), the
three teams handled 69 calls to handle explosive devices, 81 cache sweeps
(examining supplies of enemy explosive materials troops discovered), 47
unexploded ordnance (shells, bombs, rockets and so on civilians or troops
discovered) responses, 43 post-blast analyses (to make sure any unexploded
munitions survived) and 33 other combat missions. While that's an average of
only 3-4 missions a week per team, mainly because of the sharp decline in
terrorist violence in late 2007, the encounters were just as dangerous as ever.
When not on a mission, there was training, studying intelligence (on new
terrorist bomb developments and tactics) and maintenance of equipment.
(O-3) Haase regularly took the lead in dangerous situations, making decisions
in hostile and fast moving situations and limiting the risk to his sailors.
Haase is now serving as a staff officer, providing EOD advice to the commander
of the 7th Fleet Amphibious Force in Okinawa. Navy and Air Force EOD teams have
been in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning, and have played a major role
in keeping the casualty rate dawn (in Iraq, it's about a third the rate it was
in Vietnam and World War II, and the rate is even lower in Afghanistan.)