Navy bomb school told to remove unofficial motto

Associated Press

PENSACOLA, Fla. — The school where bomb technicians from all branches of the U.S. military learn their craft has been ordered to remove the unofficial motto “Initial Success or Total Failure” from its classroom walls.

Rear Adm. Michael Tillotson told school leaders this month that the motto could be viewed as disrespectful to the hundreds of Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians who have died in the line of duty.

“The motto itself holds potential insensitivities and implies that our fallen and wounded EOD Warriors have somehow failed,” Tillotson, who is based in Norfolk, Va., said in a memo to the Florida school.

“Throughout history many EOD techs from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, other U.S. government and civilian agencies, as well as foreign partners have lost their lives or been wounded in the line of duty. To imply that they failed is insensitive and disrespectful. We owe our fallen warriors and their families honor and dignity for their heroic service,” the admiral said in a prepared statement.

Officials said the admiral is especially concerned about the hundreds of family members who visit the school each spring for a memorial to military bomb technicians who have died in the line of duty the previous year.

The school will add the names of at least 17 of its graduates to its memorial wall when it holds its annual ceremony this May, said Ed Barker, a spokesman for the Naval Education and Training Command that over sees the EOD school at Eglin Air Force Base. The elite school trains EOD techs for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines and is among the toughest schools in the military.

The admiral’s mandate was not popular with some current and former EOD members. A Facebook page has been dedicated to keeping the motto. They wrote on the Facebook page that the motto reminds them of the life or death consequences of their jobs.

“The motto is not about the individual, it is about the mission, and when you are dealing with an explosive device you generally get one shot to render it safe,” Will Pratt, a former Army EOD technician, wrote in an email to the Northwest Florida Daily News newspaper of Fort Walton Beach.

Barker said many of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were killed by remotely detonated devices, and there is nothing they could have done to prevent the bomb from exploding in the seconds before someone triggered it.

He said the admiral is sensitive to this and doesn’t want anyone to imply that these EOD technicians failed in their mission.

“That’s something they had no control over,” he said.

He said the Navy has not ordered EOD members to get rid of personal items with the motto — only official reference to it the school hallways, classroom walls and other public places in the building.

“You can keep individual, personal stuff like coffee mugs,” he said.

More in Local News

Departing mayor’s locally drawn portrait joins city’s pantheon

Artist Elizabeth Person’s portrait of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson will hang with others at City Hall.

Inslee proposes tapping reserves, carbon tax in budget plan

The proposal also includes money for the mental health system and efforts to fight opioid addiction.

One dead in crash south of Granite Falls

Two cars collided near the intersection of N. Lake Roesiger Road and Hidden Valley Road.

2 women struck, injured while crossing busy roads

The first happened Wednesday night in Everett. The second was Thursday morning in Edmonds.

Lynnwood robbery leads to lockdown at Edmonds schools

Edmonds police said it was just a precaution as they search around Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Marysville 7-Eleven hit by armed robbers

Officers set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog, but the man couldn’t be found.

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Counties fed up with unfunded mandates may sue the state

For example, no money has been provided to install, maintain and clear out required ballot boxes.

Inslee budget solves school funding puzzle with piece of carbon

His plan commits to putting another $950 million into the system.

Most Read