The change was made in a memo signed by Lt. Gen. Thomas Seamands, the Army G-1, dated April 18, and could ultimately help market the job to other soldiers looking to change their MOS.
The memo authorized full-time wear of the EOD brassard by all qualified EOD techs beginning with its signing. The change is not yet reflected in Army publications, but will show in the next Army Regulation 670-1 update, a Department of the Army official said.
“Previously, the brassard was authorized for wear only while actively engaged in the duty associated with the brassard and identification of personnel was required, such as field operations and event response," William Sharp, an Army spokesman, said.
The EOD brassard serves as a unique visual skill identifier to non-EOD personnel, not only for helping to dispose unexploded ordnance, but also to help recruit.
“EOD relies substantially on in-service recruitment to ensure the Army maintains a sustainable capability to mitigate explosive ordnance threats," Greg Mueller, an Army Training and Doctrine Command spokesman, said in a statement. “The brassard serves to aid Army EOD in-service recruitment since it generates questions about its significance and provides an opening for the recruiter to discuss qualifications and EOD career options.”
The full-time wear of the brassard will also help with force protection, Mueller added. The Army’s EOD capability is frequently used in first responder scenarios in which “the brassard immediately identifies the wearer as qualified to provide render safe and exploitation capability,” he said.
Brassards are worn to help other soldiers and civilians identify personnel who are required to perform a special task or to interface with the public.
Before the update, EOD brassards were not intended for wear while performing daily or routine job-related activities, according to the regulation.
An EOD tech was only allowed to wear their brassard while actively conducting disposal operations in an environment where non-EOD personnel are present and identification of EOD personnel is necessary, such as a deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq.
Now, though, the brassard can be worn while conducting staff activities, routine maintenance and preparations, or while in an on-call or stand-by status.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.