Sunday, November 30, 2008

EOD Book Review: The Longest Walk

This is word-for-word what I posted on about The Longest Walk.

"The Longest Walk is a well written history of the U.K.’s explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) community from its inception through the late 1990’s. As implied by the cover, Peter Birchall provides insight into the heroic actions of Ammunition Technical Officers (ATOs) operating in N. Ireland – but The Longest Walk includes much more. Birchall describes the birth of EOD in the UK, provides insight into EOD selection and training, and devotes pages to several counter-IED campaigns to include actions in Hong Kong, Cyprus, and the Falkland Islands. He even gives a nod to the Draper Kauffman, the father of the U.S. EOD community. Birchall served as an ATO, so his writing is strengthened by an authenticity that only someone who has “Been there, done that...” can provide. This book will serve as a valuable addition to any historian’s library, and is a must for all displosaleers."

EOD Book Review: Bomb Squad

"As a military Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, I recommend BOMB SQUAD. The authors spent a year in the field with the NYPD BOMB SQUAD. The result is a narrative that strikes the right balance between history, human interest, and blowing stuff up. By the time I finished BOMB SQUAD I understood what it means to be a disposaleer in the Big Apple. I am particularly impressed and amazed with the number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that New York's Finest face on a regular basis. This book is a must read for anyone interested in EOD, police work, and homeland security. Thank you, Messrs. Esposito and Gerstein."

Monday, November 10, 2008

EOD Book Review: A Cold War Story

Jim Conkey adds to EOD legend and lore with A Cold War Story. The reader is immediately drawn into a Bond-like mix of secret missions and romance. EOD Techs will especially appreciate Conkey's description of a period in EOD history that is not well known; North Africa and its mix of terrorism and Soviet aggression in the late 1950s. This books is highly recommended. See my full review on

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

EOD Book Review: Eight Lives Down

The heritage of American EOD forces comes from the UK. Draper Kauffman was a Royal Navy Bomb Disposal Technician before returning to the U.S. to stand up the first mine and bomb disposal school here. From that point until 9/11 the Brits encountered more IEDs than American forces, especially during "the troubles" in Ireland. Their units are structured differently from those in the U.S. and their EOD Techs are called Ammunition Technical Officers or "ATOs."

Eight Lives Down by Major Chris Hunter, is one ATO's account of his tour of duty in Basra as part of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. I highly recommend it for someone who is interested in the life of an ATO and the counter-IED effort in Iraq. See my detailed review on at: Eight Lives Down.

Friday, September 26, 2008

EOD Book Review: America's First Frogman

“Draper Kauffman is our father. In fact, he is the father of all disposaleers and demolitioneers. This group includes EOD, SEALs, and the former UDT, the toughest and fittest brood in the United States Navy. And yet ironically Kauffman graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1933 with a medical record that said he was unfit for service due to poor eyesight."

- CO of NAVSCOLEOD speech to students in Proximity

I applied for the EOD Community several times. On each screening the applicant must first complete a physical test that includes swimming, pushups, situps, pullups, and a mile and a half run. Then the candidate interviews with an EOD Officer who determines suitability. On my second attempt, the interviewer asked, "Who is Draper Kauffman?" I was told afterward that my ability to answer this question led to a glowing recommendation. I'd impressed upon the officer that I was serious enough about the community to do some research.

Today, there is a great book available that chronicles the life of Draper Kauffman. The book's author is Kauffman's sister, Elizabeth Kauffman-Bush and it is published by the U.S. Naval Institute Press. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Military Writers Society of America recognizes Proximity with Gold Medal

The Military Writers Society of America recognized Proximity as a 2008 Gold Medal recipient. It is a humbling honor to be placed next to military authors such as Steven Pressfield (Killing Rommel -fellow 2008 recipient) and Nathaniel Fick (One Bullet Away- 2005 recipient). Visit the MWSA 2008 Awards page to see all of those who were recognized at: MWSA 2008 Awards.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

EOD Memorial

Some of the proceeds from Proximity support the EOD Memorial Scholarship Fund, which features prominently in the book. I encourage others to donate to the EOD Memorial by noting 10119 on their Combined Federal Campaign form or by sending donations to "The EOD Memorial" at:

EOD Memorial Committee
PO Box 594
Niceville, FL 32588

You can visit the EOD Memorial website at:

"What is EOD?"

I hear this question often. Through Proximity I tried to answer this question in an entertaining way. The specific genesis of this book was an encounter where I was asked, "So, you're a SEAL, right?"

"No, I'm not a SEAL. I'm a Navy Diver and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. We render safe unexploded conventional, chemical, biological, nuclear, and improvised explosive devices. In other words, we are the guys who disarm terrorist bombs, we clear minefields before amphibious landings, and we act as the bomb squad for the U.S. Secret Service."

"....right, a Navy SEAL."


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Advance Praise for Proximity

“Stephen Phillips is the real deal; a Navy EOD Officer and front line operator in the war against terrorism. Proximity is a well crafted thriller-- enthralling, realistic and frightening. Move over Tom Clancy.”

CHUCK PFARRER, author of Warrior Soul and Killing Che

“Steve Phillips is a member of a select group who live by the creed ‘Initial success or total failure.’ EOD Technicians are the special operations community’s unsung heroes…until now.

Proximity is a great read and hopefully one of many more books by Phillips.”

STEVE WATERMAN, author of Just a Sailor

Proximity: A Novel of the Navy's Elite Bomb Squad

EOD Techs

“It’s a lot like brain surgery, except if we screw up the patient detonates….Oh yeah, and we do it underwater.”

- A Navy EOD Technician

The U.S. Navy Divers of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community “perform under pressure” in the hazardous job of bomb disposal, often deep beneath the sea….alone.

An EOD Technician must have the brains of an engineer, the hands of a surgeon, and the courage of a martyr. In the U.S. Navy, carrier flight operations only occur under the watchful eye of EOD Techs ready to respond to ordnance accidents. U.S. Marines assault enemy beachheads only after EOD Techs clear the littoral seas and landing zones of mines. The U.S. Secret Service even relies on military bomb squads to protect the President and visiting foreign dignitaries. Perhaps the best testimony of their value is that when the Navy needs to place a limpet mine under an enemy ship it tasks the Navy SEALs, but to respond to such an attack – the Navy summons EOD.

Proximity highlights the exciting work of one EOD detachment as they become enmeshed in the efforts of a terrorist coalition operating both in Europe and the United States. Lieutenant “Jazz” Jascinski and the men of Detachment Four become the key to helping the FBI apprehend these terrorists - until their unique skills place them under suspicion. To protect themselves, the Techs must race to find the culprits before they become the next victims…

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Book Signing - August 9, 2008

On August 9, 2008 Steve will be at Hard Bean Coffee and Booksellers in Annapolis, Maryland to sign copies of his book Proximity: A Novel of the Navy's Elite Bomb Squad. Steve (USNA '92) will join fellow MWSA members and Naval Academy Alum; Rob Ballister (USNA '94, God Does Have a Sense of Humor), Jeff Garigliamo (USNA '89, Dogface), and Luke Ritter (USNA '90, Securing Global Transportation Networks).