The Navy’s EOD school gains some:
The phrase “Initial Success or Total Failure” has long served as the unofficial motto of explosive ordnance disposal technicians in the U.S. military.
Until recently, the slogan hung on a wall at the Naval EOD school at Eglin. It was removed after senior EOD leaders decided the words were insensitive.
“It holds some potential insensitivity and implies that our fallen and wounded EOD warriors have somehow failed,” said Joy Samsel, deputy public affairs officer at Naval Education and Training Command in Pensacola. “We don’t want to do that to families.”
Samsel said the EOD school has never had an official motto and has no plans to adopt one.
Rear Adm. Michael Tillotson, commander of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, took issue with the slogan and said that “to imply that failure is an option is unacceptable.”
Explosive ordnance disposal is an exceptionally stressful and rigorous profession, and those that have chosen that path are truly our nation’s unsung heroes over the last decade. But the truth of their profession is this: If you succeed at your task, a bomb is disabled. If you fail, you pay for it with your life. It’s binary. That doesn’t imply any level of personal failure – some of these devices are truly infernal – but it is a fact that if bomb goes off in an uncontrolled fashion the mission was not successfully accomplished. Ergo, “total failure”.
Warriors do not thrive when coddled, and flag officers used to have more substantive issues to concern themselves with.
Honestly, sometimes I despair of us.