Morale: The Brave Lieutenant


November 16,2008: A U.S. Navy lieutenant, Jonathan Haase, was awarded a Bronze Star for valor (as opposed to those awarded for meritorious service) for his aggressive leadership of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit Five Detachment One (three EOD teams) for six months in Iraq. During that period (late 2007), the three teams handled 69 calls to handle explosive devices, 81 cache sweeps (examining supplies of enemy explosive materials troops discovered), 47 unexploded ordnance (shells, bombs, rockets and so on civilians or troops discovered) responses, 43 post-blast analyses (to make sure any unexploded munitions survived) and 33 other combat missions. While that's an average of only 3-4 missions a week per team, mainly because of the sharp decline in terrorist violence in late 2007, the encounters were just as dangerous as ever. When not on a mission, there was training, studying intelligence (on new terrorist bomb developments and tactics) and maintenance of equipment.

Lieutenant (O-3) Haase regularly took the lead in dangerous situations, making decisions in hostile and fast moving situations and limiting the risk to his sailors. Haase is now serving as a staff officer, providing EOD advice to the commander of the 7th Fleet Amphibious Force in Okinawa. Navy and Air Force EOD teams have been in Iraq and Afghanistan since the beginning, and have played a major role in keeping the casualty rate dawn (in Iraq, it's about a third the rate it was in Vietnam and World War II, and the rate is even lower in Afghanistan.)



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