DVIDS – News – Highly Decorated EOD Technician Retires From Elite Unit After Recovering From Paralysis

FORT BRAGG, North Carolina – The most decorated explosive ordnance disposal technician in the history of an elite U.S. Army airborne EOD company recently retired after recovering from a battle-related gunshot wound that crippled him from the chest down.

sergeant. 1st Class Jeffery M. Dawson ended his storied career with the 28th Ordnance Company (EOD), the Army’s only special-operations-focused EOD company with hand-picked, highly trained EOD soldiers supporting missions of direct action worldwide.

The 28th EOD Company (Airborne) based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is part of the 192nd EOD Battalion, 52nd EOD Group, and 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the premier all-hazard formation of the US Army.

In an Army EOD community for the first time, 75th Ranger Regiment Commanding Officer Col. Jim “JD” Kiersey and Command Sgt. Major Curt D. Donaldson attended his ceremony and elevated Dawson’s status from “honorary member” to “distinguished member” of the Ranger Regiment.

Part of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, the 75th Ranger Regiment is the U.S. Army’s premier direct-action light infantry force. The regiment can deploy a battalion of Rangers to hotspots around the world within 18 hours of notification.

A seasoned combat veteran from Coalville, Utah, Dawson deployed to Iraq with the 722nd EOD Company before being selected for the 28th EOD Company. During his six years with the 28th EOD Company, Dawson deployed seven times to Afghanistan.

Dawson said EOD techs protected forces and enabled operations during the Global War on Terror by confronting and defeating the enemy’s favorite weapon – the improvised explosive device. EOD forces have secured more than 100,000 improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2006 and have trained thousands of host nation forces.

“During the Global War on Terror, IEDs and other complex explosive devices were at an all-time high. Many maneuver elements relied heavily on the skill and proficiency of EOD technicians. Not just the military, but all services. Often the elements would take EOD on board as an organic asset,” Dawson said. This is what makes EOD techs so important to the military.

During his career, Dawson defeated hundreds of explosive devices and won the Purple Heart for combat injuries twice.

“As an EOD tech, the most memorable missions stand out because they were either really good or really bad,” Dawson said. “Working with special operations forces, you often find yourself in situations where the outcome can swing back and forth in the blink of an eye.”

The missions that stand out the most for Dawson are the one where he earned the nation’s second-highest military medal, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the mission that nearly ended his life and left him paralyzed from the chest down. feet.

In Afghanistan on October 5, 2013, Dawson participated in a mission to capture or kill a high-value Taliban leader who was planning terrorist attacks.

“The IED threat was low and it was meant to be a quick and easy target,” Dawson said. “During the infiltration, everything changed in a few minutes.”

A fleeing insurgent donated an explosive and killed a team member and the team’s all-around dog, Jani.

Dawson soon realized his team was surrounded by pressure plate IEDs. He interrupted the mission, located the improvised explosive devices and assisted in the evacuation of dead and injured soldiers. Four US soldiers were killed by explosive devices during the mission.

Although seriously injured in two separate explosions, Dawson worked in limited visibility to locate three confirmed pressure plate IEDs and six other suspect devices. He then cleared a path to evacuate the fallen and injured soldiers.

On February 17, 2015, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army General Daniel B. Allyn presented the Distinguished Service Cross to Dawson during a ceremony at Fort Benning, Georgia. sergeant. Bryan C. Anderson, the Ranger platoon medic tasked with the same mission, also received the Distinguished Service Cross at the ceremony. The 75th Ranger Regiment submitted them for the award.

During another mission in Afghanistan in July 2019, Dawson was seriously injured by gunshot wounds.

“When I was shot, he came into my right arm and came to rest after slamming into and fracturing my left shoulder blade, collapsing both lungs and exposing my spinal cord in the process,” Dawson said. “I am grateful for the expertise of the doctor who carried out a life-saving treatment that allowed me to live despite all the obstacles.”

The doctor saved Dawson by using a chest tube to inflate his collapsing lungs.

Dawson was medically evacuated to Germany for surgery and then to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. He moved next door to James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida, a facility that specializes in spinal injuries.

Working with physical therapists and using the tough, tenacious “never give up” approach that allowed him to succeed on the battlefield, Dawson got up and walked again.

Less than a year after being seriously injured, Dawson has taken 5 km and covered 3.1 miles unaided. Since then he has completed 6.2 miles on foot and a triathlon with a quarter mile swim, 11 miles bike and 3.1 miles walk without assistive devices.

“The key to my recovery was mostly mental,” Dawson said. “I lost control of everything from the chest to the feet, with that I lost all physical conditioning before my injury. I basically had to start over as a newborn in a 33-year-old man’s body.

“As I’m always trying to re-learn everything, I have to keep a positive mental attitude so I can keep improving,” Dawson said.

After returning home to North Carolina, Dawson took time to focus on healing the visible and invisible scars from several combat missions. “I stay active as much as I can,” Dawson said. “I enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities that get my heart pumping. In the future, I would like to do a mud race.

He has enrolled in college and is looking for opportunities to help other veterans.

Dawson said the highlight of his career was being recognized by the 75th Ranger Regiment for his actions on the battlefield.

“I was surrounded by people who wanted to be there,” Dawson said. “It was an honor to work with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Their expertise and professionalism set the standard for others.

“What makes the 28th a great company is that it is filled with specially selected, well-trained soldiers who will never accept defeat and never fail to accomplish the mission. Soldiers who have the will to ‘take on more than their share of the task, whatever it is, one hundred percent plus,’ Dawson said. , intelligent and above all, you have to be trainable.”

Maj. Stephen M. Knudsen, commander of 28th EOD Company, said his company has always relied on the expertise, courage and determination of noncommissioned officers like Dawson to support cutting-edge special forces units. spear all over the world.

“The 28th is a unique formation with forward elements deployed continuously throughout its 13-year history,” Knudsen said. “It provides a painfully light and disproportionately lethal airborne EOD capability to the 75th Ranger Regiment and Special Operations Command during crisis response operations, raids and joint forcible entries.”

Knudsen, a 14-year veteran from Sutter Creek, Calif., has been deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan three times. The 28th EOD Company commander said Dawson never let his heroic deeds and legendary service to the explosive ordnance disposal community go to his head.

“The thing that stands out from Sgt. 1st Class Dawson is how approachable and down-to-earth he is,” Knudsen said. “He’s a legend in the career field, but he’s such a lighthearted, funny, genuine person. If there’s anyone who’s earned the right to be super cocky or macho, it’s him, but instead you’re greeted by a humble guy with a warm smile wearing a cat shirt.

Date taken: 06.06.2022
Date posted: 06.06.2022 10:12
Story ID: 422250
Location: FORT BRAGG, North Carolina, USA
Hometown: COALVILLE, Iowa, USA

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