When 1LT Lindsey Blare became an officer in the Army National Guard, she wanted a change and a new challenge. So, she traded in her 88M Truck Driver military occupational specialty, commissioned as a 91A Ordnance Officer and headed to EOD school the following year to become an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Officer.
That’s right: detecting, identifying, disarming, and disposing of all types of bombs. Which — decidedly — does not mean cutting the red wire like old TV shows would have us believe.
It’s a stereotype that Blare finds amusing.
“That is job security for me,” she said.
Blare, who serves with the 430th Ordnance Company (EOD), notes that her training is the same as every EOD tech in any other branch of the U.S. military. Ultimately, EOD Soldiers are tasked with disposing of “explosive ordnance.” That can include improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and even weapons of mass destruction, so units like Blare’s can also be called to any biological or chemical event.
The decision to join the North Carolina Guard back in 2005 when she was an 18-year-old, first-year college student was not a difficult one for Blare.
With two retired Marines for parents and her mother continuing her military service in the National Guard up until just last fall, Blare says she’s “been around combat boots my whole life. It was a way to continue college, get job training, and serve my country.”
The flexibility of serving in the Guard on a part-time basis, plus the education benefits, enabled Blare to attend Appalachian State University and earn a bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Education with minors in math, history, and military science. She did all her Guard training during the summers and between semesters.
When she decided to change jobs, however, it made her parents a little uneasy at first, even with their military backgrounds.
“We had an adult discussion,” says Blare. “But it was my decision, and they supported whatever I chose to do with my career.”
While detonating explosive devices may not be for everyone, Blare says she feels like she’s in her element.
“How many people get to blow things up and get to walk away from it?”
She also likes the camaraderie she’s found as part of the “explosive community.”
“I get to use my mind, I get to use my hands and trust what my team and I can do.”
She’s also looking for a few good EOD techs who are talented “high-speed Soldiers,” or those who are motivated, intelligent, and like to work with unique challenges. New recruits can become 89D Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialists by attending 10 weeks of Basic Training and two phases of Advanced Individual Training: 11 weeks at Fort Lee, Va., for Phase 1; and 29 weeks at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., for Phase 2 joint training with the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force.
Those same unique challenges have taken Blare to a few different places. She has deployed to Qatar. She recently headed up a training team in Moldova, and last year she took part in an officer exchange program in the U.K.
Blare also puts her education degree to work in a full-time position running the Distributed Learning Program for the North Carolina Guard. She’s in charge of managing all the digital classrooms for the State.
As to what’s next, she can’t see herself leaving the Guard “until I stop having fun.”
Her advice for anyone considering joining the Guard is to make sure you can commit to something wholeheartedly and enjoy it, and “use those benefits.”
If you think you’re ready to take her advice, visit the Guard jobs board and get in touch with a recruiter today.