EOD team leader takes pride in his team, Army career

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Doherty, explosive ordnance disposal team leader, 702nd EOD Company, 15th Engineer Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, returns from a simulated vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in the bomb suit during Northern Challenge 22 in Keflavik, Iceland, Oct. 5. Northern Challenge 22 is a two-week multi-national EOD exercise hosted by the Icelandic Coast Guard in coordination with NATO allies to actively engage EOD operators from 14 nations in real-life scenarios on land and in maritime situations. Experiences, tactics, techniques and procedures acquired are shared amongst intelligence and operators of participating nations to enhance interoperability.

The explosive ordnance disposal specialist is an intensely technical and tactical Army specialization that tests a Soldier’s ability to maintain a calm demeanor and make quick decisions. “You will never know everything,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Doherty, 702nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 15th Engineer Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command.

As an EOD team leader, he welcomes new information. Doherty describes the job as both fun and hard because he comes across new devices and navigating around those devices can be difficult.

A native of Rochester, New York, Doherty enlisted in the Army at 18 years old and has served for 10 years. Doherty’s career choice keeps him engaged by always challenging him to learn about new devices and ways to defeat them.

Doherty led a team of explosive ordnance disposal specialists in the Northern Challenge 22 exercise in Keflavik, Iceland, Sept. 25 to Oct. 7. The sole EOD exercise encompassed 14 nations and executed 285 land tasks.

During one task, Doherty and two team members worked together to defeat a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device. Doherty was highly knowledgeable on the execution, confident, and communicative with his team. The team’s cohesion was vital to the success and safety of the mission. Once they exhausted semi-remote resources, Doherty put on the bomb suit to approach the VBIED.

“Working as a team [and] having different ideas is a helpful tool keeping me alive whenever I go down there and deal with it,” said Doherty. Inside the bomb suit there is a radio, so ideas and options can be shared and assessed.

Northern Challenge was Doherty’s first EOD exercise and he appreciated the vast levels of experience and feedback from the multi-national participants, not to mention the extreme Arctic weather conditions.

“It’s a good learning opportunity,” said Doherty. Even with the subpar climate, Doherty said he would “100 percent” participate in another EOD event.

In the future, Doherty plans to apply for the Green to Gold Program to become an EOD officer.