News: EOD battalion welcomes new commander
Story by Staff Sgt. Mark Miranda
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – The 3rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, 555th Engineer Brigade welcomed a new commander during a ceremony at Watkins Field, Sept. 13.
Lt. Col. Stephen Kavanaugh assumed command of the “Nighthawks” battalion from Lt. Col. Frank G. Davis II, who will be moving to Fort Carson, Colo., to be the deputy commanding officer, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD).
“I came into command hoping to develop a great reputation for the battalion, and we accomplished that,” Davis said. “I’m really happy that all six companies in the battalion are here for this ceremony, it’s rare to have everyone home, together.”
The change of command ceremony began with a formation of 3rd EOD Bn. troops, honors to the nation and an invocation.
Davis passed the battalion colors to Col. William McDonough, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD) Commander, who then passed the colors to Kavanaugh.
“Davis’ command was more complex and challenging than most other battalion commands,” McDonough said. “At any time he was either preparing his companies to deploy, getting ready for their return, or conducting their homeland defense mission. The Nighthawks leadership did a superb job of getting it all done.”
While deployed, Davis’ team provided mission command for Army and Air Force EOD elements as Joint Task Force Paladin South. They also provided oversight to coalition and to Afghan forces in support of Regional Commands South, Southwest and West and the special operations task force south.
“To say the Nighthawks had a busy deployment would be an understatement,” McDonough said. “They facilitated 15 reliefs-in-place between units. They supported 360 route clearance patrols. They found and cleared 537 IEDs, destroyed almost 174,000 pounds of explosives – removing them from the battlefield and saving countless lives in the process. The Nighthawks aided in developing an Afghan National Security Force EOD capability.”
McDonough mentioned additional highlights of the deployment. The 3rd EOD stood up and established 19 Afghan National Security Force EOD teams, they validated the readiness and ability of 28 ANSF EOD teams to operate unilaterally and they trained 212 students and 13 instructors on explosives hazard reduction. The Nighthawks trained almost 1,500 ANSF personnel and thousands of personnel in counter-IED measures.
Kavanaugh’s most recent assignment was as a team chief with the weapons of mass destruction coordination element, 20th Support Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives), at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.
“It’s an honor to be standing here today,” Kavanaugh said. “The 3rd EOD has a proud history of mission accomplishment that I know will continue. I look forward to getting to know you all, and what you are capable of, to seeing training, and execution of missions to highest standards.”