Thursday, December 31, 2009

Meet the MWSA Authors! - Rescheduled

Steve will join fellow Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) award recipients, Rob Ballister (God Does Have a Sense of Humor), Luke Ritter (Securing Global Transportation Networks), and Wesley Gray (Embeded: A Marine Corps Adviser Inside the Iraqi Army) on 23 January at the Navy Exchange in Annapolis, Maryland from 11:00am-1:00pm. Copies of Proximity will be available for purchase and Steve will be happy to sign your book, and talk about the EOD community. This event has it all - humor, fiction, non-fiction, and current events. Come and meet these four award-winning authors!


We're discounting "Proximity" for this event selling each copy for $20.00. Since you will be purchasing from me directly, please bring cash - one "Jackson" per book.

As always, part of the proceeds will benefit the EOD Memorial Foundation.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Meet the Authors Event - Weather.

A friendly reminder that Stephen Phillips will be at the NEX in Annapolis, MD tomorrow December 19, 2009 11:30am-1:00pm, to sign copies of Proximity and talk about the book. There is a chance that the event will be affected by base closings due to expected snow in the Greater DC-Baltimore-Annapolis area. Visit the Navy Base website ( for information on closings or watch for my postings here, via Twitter (@eodauthor) or on my facebook fanpage (

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Meet the Authors!

Stephen Phillips (Proximity: A Novel of the Navy’s Elite Bomb Squad) will join fellow military authors Rob Ballister (God Does Have A Sense of Humor) and Wesley Gray (Embedded: A Marine Corps Adviser Inside the Iraqi Army) at the Navy Exchange in Annapolis, MD on 19 December, 11:00-1:00pm. Steve will be on hand to sign your copy of “Proximity,” talk about the book, and discuss life as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. Proceeds from Proximity support the EOD Memorial Foundation.

Friday, November 20, 2009

60 Minutes report on Task Force Paladin

60 Minutes did a piece on Task Force Paladin - EOD Techs in Afghanistan. They focused on route clearance. Visit "The Deadliest Weapon" for a video of the broadcast piece plus extras such as "Bomb Squad Training" and "The Deadliest Job."

(Photo: Navy Lt. Jonathan Kehoe, commander, Plt. 602, 63rd Bn., EOD Mobilization Unit 6, attached to 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., crosses the finish line in 10 minutes and 13 seconds for the Guinness World Record for the fastest mile in a bomb suit at Camp Echo Feb. 2. Photo credit Sgt. Rodney Foliente)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another Wounded EOD Warrior Event - WEODWF- 2 Day Ride!

All Hands - Read this message from Ens. Matt Byington.

"Hooya, Rembrandt!"

Family and Friends-

As you know, I am currently studying Arabic in the capital city of Amman, Jordan as part of my initial training to become an Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Officer. This training has been tough, but it has brought me many great experiences and opportunities to grow, such as this month-long immersion. However, another tremendous opportunity has presented itself, one that I need your help to accomplish.

From 13-15 November, a dedicated group of athletes will participate in a fully supported 2-day bike ride from Naval Station Point Mugu south to Liberty Station in San Diego in order to raise money for the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation. This event provides an opportunity to enjoy one of the most spectacular biking tracks in America, while supporting our Wounded EOD Warriors and their families. All proceeds will go to the WEODWF ( which funds and supports military EOD families caring for their loved ones at military medical facilities across the country. The resources provided to the families are above and beyond the budgetary constraints of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The resources of the WEODWF are entirely obtained through donations and fund-raising events.

My goal is to raise $750 for this organization. For my part, I will be donating $250 as a start towards this goal. If you would like to help me along in this journey, I (as long as the EOD warriors receiving aid from this fundraiser) would greatly appreciate it.

If you would like to give a monetary donation, be it $5 or $50 or any other amount you would like to donate, please make checks payable to:

WEODWF 2-Day Ride

Also, please send the checks to my address so I can submit them all together. My address is:

5 Sommerset Vale
Monterey, CA 93940

I will be returning to Monterey on 23Oct, and will be submitting donations and the entrance for on 30Oct. However, any donations received after that I will submit prior to the event.

If you have any questions or would like any more information, please do not hesitate to ask. Also, if you know of anyone else that may be interested in donating, please let me know so I can get in contact with them. I hope that life is giving you all the best, and thank you for your support.

Very Respectfully,

ENS Matthew Byington

[Image: Matt Byington running in the Avenue of the Giants Marathon.]

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wounded EOD Warrior Event

Please read all of the information below on an upcoming Wounded EOD Warrior Event. I'm donating a copy of Proximity to the silent auction.

A Brave Warrior, Our Hero: TSgt Michael Williams

On August 2, 2009, Mike Williams, his wife Kristi and son Zachary all discovered how a single step could change their lives. While serving in the United States Air Force in Afghanistan, on a mission to disarm a roadside Improvised Explosive Device (IED), Mike stepped on a landmine and lost his left leg. He is lucky to be alive. His teammates rushed to his aid, grabbing a discarded wheelbarrow to help transport him to a helicopter for evacuation. Even as he was being evacuated, under direct fire, Mike was clutching his weapon and directing his team.
Today, Mike and his family are living at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. He continues to improve at a fast pace and his spirits are high.
To honor Mike and others that have sacrificed so greatly for our freedom, we will be holding a Chili Dinner Fundraiser. All proceeds will be donated to the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation. For more information on the foundation or to make an online donation, please visit
10154 Bellwright Rd
Summerville, SC 29483
WHEN: Saturday, October 10, 2009
5 pm until?
WHAT: Food, Music and Fun.
There will also be a silent auction and raffle.
COST: Admission is $10/person and includes chili and the fixins’.
Make your donation and receive a wristband to wear in support of the foundation.
RSVP: Hannah Morris 843-276-5651 or
We are currently looking for volunteers and items to be donated so that we may have a raffle to raise additional funds that evening. Do you have contact with a business or private individual that might be willing to donate something of value for our fundraiser? Or do you know someone who might be willing to make a monetary donation? Would you like to donate some of your time or services? If so, please contact:
Hannah Morris
106 S Knightsbridge Ct,
Goose Creek, SC 29445
(843) 276-5651
Please make all checks payable to the WEODWF.
Donation Information:
Contact Name:
I would like to sponsor a table at the event: $250. Includes 5 Tickets to chili dinner and recognition/advertising on one of the tables at the event.
I would like to donate an item(s) for the silent auction or raffle.
I would like to make a donation of
Businesses must provide logo to by October 5, 2009 to receive proper recognition on all advertising and signage.
All proceeds of the event will be donated to the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation.
Please make checks payable to the WEODWF and send to:
Hannah Morris
106 S Knightsbridge Ct
Goose Creek, SC 29445

Monday, September 7, 2009

EOD Memorial Support through CFC - #10119

The EOD Memorial features prominently in Proximity. Here is one example from Chapter Twenty-Two:


Indian Head

The next day Jazz drove the rental car down Indian Head Highway to the main gate of Naval Surface Weapon Station Indian Head. As he passed through, a wave of old feelings returned. He wiped them, reminding himself that he was already a Tech.
He saw the base club, The Powder Keg, on the right hand side. Jazz turned into its lot and parked there.
The memorial was not far. Jazz always paused when he first saw the four obelisks of granite each with the seal of one of the four services on top. Under each seal were bronze plaques bearing the names of EOD Techs who died in the line of duty.
Jazz was first drawn to the list under the seal of the United States Navy. Its most recent addition was an instructor Jazz knew as a student.

GMC (EOD/PJ) Stephen J. Morris, USN

Morris died in a training accident the very day Jazz graduated. Jazz was on leave and did not hear the news until he reported in at Mobile Unit Six. As he looked at the name, Jazz recalled the cold November mornings less than two years before, his class standing in shorts on pool deck. He remembered Morris, warm in a sweatsuit with coffee in hand, the class taskmaster.
“Get in the water!”
“Hooya!” the students would yell as they plunged into the cold water. Morris would wait a moment until a quorum of his charges was shivering.
“Anyone wanna quit?”
There would not be an answer.
“Ten thousand yards, crawl. Go!”
Upon finishing the swim, the students were required to exit the pool and get into the ‘leaning rest,’ the pushup position until the last of their classmates finished the swim. Jazz recalled looking at Morris’ boots as he stood in front of him.
“Mister Jascinski, you had better square these people away. Two more failed room inspections yesterday. Come by after class today and we’ll discuss.”
“Aye, aye, Chief!”
Jazz looked to the Army column.

Timothy A. West, Sgt USA

Cameron P. Martin, Sgt USA

Jazz still struggled with his role in their deaths. He made the phone call that set their demise in motion.
There was a noise behind him. Jazz turned around to see a fossil of a man in a short-sleeved shirt with a bow tie. The man was stooped and wore thick glasses. He had long ago ceased combing the thin wiry hair on his head that matched the bush in his ears.
“Zero eight five eight,” he said.
“Excuse me?” replied Jazz.
“Zero eight five eight.”
“Uh, was that your class number, sir?”
“No. Ever heard of the Combined Federal Campaign?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Get a pen and write it down. Zero eight five eight,” the white Yoda growled as if Jazz was negligent to not have known and remembered this important number.
Jazz nervously pulled a pen from his shirt pocket. He then extracted an old receipt from his wallet.
“Zero eight five eight,” the man repeated.
Jazz mimicked as he wrote it down. “Zero eight five eight.”
“What is it?” he asked.
“The number for the EOD Memorial Scholarship Fund in the Combined Federal Campaign. I assume you are a student?”
“I graduated a few months ago. I’m Lieutenant James Jascinski,” he said extending his hand.
“Nice to meet you, sir. I’m Sergeant Horace Pickney, United States Army Retired. I’m one of the curators for the EOD Memorial and the scholarship fund. Army? Navy?”
“Are you here for someone in particular? That chief who was an instructor I guess.”
Jazz studied the sergeant’s face. He noticed that his eyes were glossy and that his teeth were stained from cigarettes and coffee. When he raised his bushy eyebrows in anticipation, Jazz snapped back.
“Uh, yes. The chief, and the two most recent Army Techs from Texas.”
“Yeah. I didn’t know them directly, but we kinda worked together. How about you, do you know any of these men?”
The old man smiled at Jazz. “Well, Lieutenant, I’ve only met four of them, but I know all of ‘em.”

I wrote of the EOD Memorial and Foundation as a means to entertain, but also to educate my readers to this important effort. Now more than ever, we must help those who serve, especially the families of the fallen. This is best expressed in a letter sent by Jim O’Neil – Executive Director of the Foundation. Note that the Memorial’s CFC number is now 10119.

Date: September 8, 2009

To: The EOD Community & Friends

Subj: CFC Contributions

Greetings to all. This is the time of year when the CFC Campaign commences and we all will be asked to assist many worthwhile organizations and causes. I would however, ask each of you, and those to consider The EOD Memorial Foundation as your organization of choice.

In 2008, we lost six exceptional EOD Technicians who were placed upon the EOD Memorial. As of this date in 2009, we have lost nine gallant warriors. Hopefully, we will have no more. Please keep their families and fellow techs in your thoughts and prayers.

In 2009, the EOD Memorial Foundation: a) approved $100,000 in scholarships to the children and spouses of the EOD community; b) paid for the travel costs associated with the family members attendance at the EOD Memorial Service and Ball; c) Spent over $75,000 in the upgrade, maintenance, and expansion of the EOD Memorial.

We are exploring ways in which we can expand our services and support for the families of our fallen as well as the EOD community in general. Your ideas or suggestions are welcome. To be successful, we need your help. I am asking that you contribute as much as you comfortably can, but at least ten dollars ($10.00) per month. I am also asking that each of you make a personal effort to encourage your fellow EOD techs and work associates to do the same. Please send them to our website (

Our CFC Identification Number is: 10119. Say it again: 10119.

Fellow EOD Warriors, we need your assistance. Please call if you need any additional information or if your workplace would host a presentation. We are ready to assist you to assist us in any way we can. Thank you!! We Remember.


Jim O’Neil
Executive Director

(Photo: The EOD Memorial as it appeared in Indian Head, MD.)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Author Stephen Phillips on facebook

For readers who are on facebook - I have established a facebook fan page. It can be found at: [U.S. Navy Photo of EOD crabs to be awarded at NAVSCOLEOD graduation ceremony]

MWSA meets with The Capital

Teri Winslow is a staff writer with The Capital. On June 11, four members of the Military Writers Society of America sat down with Teri at Hard Bean Coffee and Booksellers in Annapolis. Teri wrote an article about the MWSA crew entitled "Military provides good training for some authors". The Capital is on facebook.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

"The Hurt Locker"

Shortly after the Saddam's statue was toppled in Firdos Square, America found itself embroiled in an IED war. In fact "IED" is now in the Merriam-Webster's Dictionary. And yet little is known about the service men that defuse IEDs - the EOD Techs.

A few articles have emerged including a September 2005 Playboy article entitled, The Man in the Bomb Suit by Mark Boal. Mark saw EOD work up close while embedded with an Army EOD Team serving in Iraq in 2004. His article grew into a screenplay and film that Boal co-produced with Kathryn Bigelow called The Hurt Locker.

Boal and Bigelow were kind enough to share The Hurt Locker with the EOD Memorial Foundation at a private screening last Thursday. Jim O'Neil, the foundation's executive director put the word out to the EOD community and the event became a fundraiser. Thus, the theater was filled with EOD Techs of all ages - a discerning audience.

Jim set the tone when he said, "Remember guys, this is not a training film!" I knew exactly what Jim was driving at. I did not expect realism as much as entertainment. Still, I brought my father, wife, and son to see the film with me. I hoped they could see the life of an EOD Tech - live and in color. We were not disappointed.

After the film I enjoyed a short conversation with Mark and Kathryn. Mark and I corresponded while he was working on the screenplay. I even sent him a copy of my book proposal for a non-fiction companion to Proximity (Which is still in the works).

"What did you think?" he asked.
"Actually, I'm impressed," I responded, "I think you guys really captured the essence of EOD work."

I was and they did.

The whole package - writing, cinematography, acting - vividly depicted what it means to go down range. This led to the true value of the film. On the car ride home, my family asked question after question about life as an EOD Tech. As a result they more clearly understand the courage and sacrifice of our nation's EOD Techs.

So for my EOD brethren I say, "Go see this film...and take your loved ones. You won't regret it."

For Mark and Kathryn, I'd like to say, "Thanks for donating you time to share this film with the EOD Memorial Foundation. More importantly, thanks for telling this story."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The EOD Memorial Foundation hosts a premiere of "The Hurt Locker."

I've just signed up to attend a special screening of The Hurt Locker that will support the EOD Memorial Foundation. Check out both sites and give to the Foundation!

(Official U.S. Navy photo of EOD Tech in Med Eng bomb suit.)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

MWSA meets with The Capital

This evening four members of the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) gathered at Hard Bean Coffee and Booksellers in Annapolis, Maryland to meet with Teri Winslow, a features reporter with The Capital. The MWSA group included Rob Ballister (God Does Have a Sense of Humor), Geri Krotow (What Family Means), Luke Ritter (Securing Global Transportation Networks), and myself. It was a fun evening, filled with great conversation. I'll leave the interesting details and insight to Teri...and will post a link to her article when it comes out.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Readers comment on Proximity

Cory S. is a sailor interested in the EOD community. He wrote, "Bravo Zulu Sir! I read through your Proximity and I loved it! I’ll be honest, I’m not a reader yet I’ve never moved so fast through a read. Your book is what I’ve been looking for. The EOD community is quite small and thus I’ve had difficulty trying to find information about the type of missions, work environments, etc. I had a good idea but have been always looking for someone to give me an inside look……and truly, your book sealed the deal in that I know the EOD is what I want to do. Combining physical and mental challenges, with an error in any of those areas will cost a life, that’s what I’ve been looking for! When Jazz used his intellect and reasoning to come to the magnet proposal, I thought, 'Wow! Science and explosives to save the day…has me written all over it!' HOOYAH!"

Thanks, Cory...I'm glad that you enjoyed it. I wrote Proximity hoping to inspire and educate sailors who are interested in the community.

Chris C. also sent me a note:

"Steve, the book made it into my hands last evening....and, I can't put it down. Are you working on the screenplay, yet?"

Hooya, Chris. You're not the first person to comment that Proximity reads like an action movie. I do hope it finds it way to the silver screen.

Have an opinion, comment or critique of Proximity? Feel free to post a comment here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SWJ - "Civil Affairs Confronts Weapons of the Weak"

I'm a fan of the Small Wars Journal. They have a five part series entitled "Professors in the Trenches." SWJ describes this series as: "Each article was co-authored by one Army soldier/civilian and one university professor/academic as part of a joint research project. This project and product responds to the Army’s objectives regarding the integration of cultural social sciences into its training and operations."

Number 2 in the series is "Civil Affairs Confronts Weapons of the Weak." It has a very interesting counter-IED (C-IED) construct. I recommend this as reading for any EOD Tech or student of counter-insurgency (COIN).

Monday, March 9, 2009

FREE 19!

I want to send a "Hooya!" to Midn 2/c Gulliksen, Midn 3/c McCrary, and the Plebes of FREE 19! Thank you all for the Naval Academy clock. As suggested, it is now displayed prominently in my bar. I will remember a fun Saturday morning training lecture with you guys....especially the 70% who chose to stay on for the second hour. The rest of you...bring around a Form Two!

Monday, March 2, 2009

FAQ #2: How can I learn more about an EOD career?

I'm often contacted by those who are interested in a career as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician. This community was practically unknown before the war on terrorism, and is still not well understood today. Still, the Military Channel did a great program on the Navy's EOD community. It is available on You Tube starting with this link:

After seeing this program, if you are still interested, I recommend "hitting the books." On this page I've posted some of my favorites. If you search "EOD" or "Bomb Squad" on you will note I've reviewed many of them there. I recommend first reading America's First Frogman: The Draper Kauffman Story by Elizabeth Kauffman Bush. Next, pick up Eight Lives Down by Chris Hunter. The Kauffman book will provide an important historical understanding of the roots of this community. Chris Hunter describes counter-IED operations while serving in Basra, Iraq which provide a sense of EOD work in the war on terrorism.

For the best insight into a Navy EOD career I recommend visiting the Navy EOD recruiting website at: I'm certain that the other services have similar websites.

FAQ #3 You mention in the opening of "Proximity" that EOD procedures are often classified. How then were you able to publish?

The exact quote in the front of Proximity is:

"The methods, tactics, and procedures used by military Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians are often classified. This is to prevent the architects of military ordnance or improvised explosive devices from incorporating countermeasures into their design. This book only reveals procedures that are intuitively obvious or so widely publicized that mentioning them here could not be considered irresponsible. Where required, the methods described are fictitious while maintaining the flavor of explosive ordnance disposal work."

To ensure that I did not unwittingly publish classified information I submitted this manuscript to the U.S. Navy's Office of Information and Personnel Security. They authorized it for release after a nine month review. Since that time, I've submitted a collection of historical accounts. One of which has been published as an article in the Small Wars Journal entitled The Birth of the Combined Explosives Exploitation Cell.

Saturday, February 28, 2009


I received this message via the Navy and Marine Corps EOD Association - LT Michael McMahon will participate in the Florida Ironman Triathlon in Panama City. Proceeds support the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation and EOD Memorial Read below.

Dear Friends and Family,

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I am LT Michael McMahon, Officer In Charge of Navy EOD Mobile Unit 2 Platoon 2-5-1 deployed to Mosul, Iraq. The reason I'm contacting you is to raise awareness and funds for two organizations; The EOD Memorial Foundation and the EOD Wounded Warrior Foundation. On November 7th, 2009 I will be competing in the Florida Ironman Triathlon in Panama City. I'm running it to honor all of the fallen and wounded EOD warriors that have given so much for this country.

EOD stands for Explosive Ordnance Disposal. EOD techs, as we are referred to, are on the front lines in the war on terror. EOD teams are integrated with combat units from all services. We are there to ensure safety from explosive hazards more specifically IEDs; Improvised Explosive Devices. EOD personnel save countless lives, both military and civilian, on a daily basis. Unfortunately, there are those who are wounded in this effort and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Below are links to both the EOD Memorial Foundation and the EOD Wounded Warrior Foundation's web sites. Please take a moment to visit these foundations and take a look at what they do for the families of the fallen and the lives of the wounded EOD warriors.

A donation of any amount is much appreciated. Your contribution will help make a difference in the families of the fallen and the lives of the wounded. If you choose to donate please make checks payable to the MICHAEL MCMAHON IRONMAN EOD FUND, and send to:

2024 Sunset Maple LN Chesapeake VA, 23323

The total amount of donations will be split equally, with a check made out to each organization on the day of the race.

If you know of anyone else who might be interested in donating please forward this e-mail along. Thank you for your support.


Michael McMahon