Prior to World War II, the Navy had no formal Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) program. Incidents and accidents which would now be handled by Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians, were then handled by the best qualified ordnance personnel.
Early in World War II, because of the high casualty rate, it became obvious to the British that a need existed for a corps of skilled technicians to render safe or dispose of an increasing number of unexploded ordnance items which presented hazards to their people and operations.
Shortly before U.S. entry into World War II, an agreement was reached with the British whereby a nucleus of U.S. naval officers and enlisted personnel would work with the British units in the field and subsequently bring the skills back home. When this group returned, the decision was made to provide formal EOD training in the United States. In June 1941, the first Mine Disposal Class was convened at the Naval Gun Factory, Washington, D.C. In December of the same year, the Bomb Disposal School was also established at the same location.
The Bomb Disposal School was later moved to American University. The Advanced Mine School stayed at the Gun Factory (Washington Navy Yard) until it moved to the Naval Receiving Station, Anacostia in 1942. The School was renamed to the Mine Disposal School on Oct. 21, 1943. In November 1945 the two schools were combined and established at the Naval Powder Factory, Indian Head, Maryland.
In 1947, responsibility for EOD training for all services was delegated to the Navy, and officers and enlisted of all services were added to the staff. This relationship flourished, and as the performance of the newly formed Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians improved, the demand for their unique talents increased. By 1958, facilities required to meet these increased requirements were met by the dedication of surface and nuclear training buildings. Subsequently, a half million gallon diving pool (underwater training facility) was constructed, greatly expanding the capability of the school to train naval officers and enlisted personnel in the peculiarities of EOD diving.
In late 1971, the Department of Defense consolidated the EOD training and technology programs under the single managership of the Navy. This action, along with improving the training of the EOD technicians, resulted in the establishment of district organizations by the other services at NAVSCOLEOD and the creation of the DoD EOD Technical Training Acceptance Board.
To meet increased requirements for trained Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians, as well as to support expanding curriculum requirements, the chief of naval operations, on Oct. 1, 1985, established the Naval School, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachment at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), Florida. Construction of these facilities began in October 1986, and was officially opened for business on June 24, 1988.
On Nov. 15, 1996, a ground breaking ceremony was conducted at Eglin AFB. Construction began on the $16.2 million dollar military construction project which, on completion, would provide the facilities for all the basic EOD training at Eglin.
The consolidated Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) training facility supports the Department of Defense Joint Service EOD training mission. The military construction project centralized all basic EOD training at Eglin AFB, Florida. The consolidation saved the DoD $4.3 million dollars in annual recurring costs. The project provided for five new buildings totaling 117,000 square feet at a cost of $16.2 million dollars. In addition, a Chief of Naval Education and Training Technology Infusion Project upgraded our curriculum delivery technology with state-of-the-art computer-based hardware and software.