JBLM 787th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company soldier awarded in Afghanistan

Soldier earns battlefield promotion in Afghanistan

By Walter Ham on December 2, 2014

A Soldier from the 787th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company earned a battlefield promotion to staff sergeant for his service in Afghanistan.

Staff Sgt. Sammy Caranto was one of three sergeants out of more than 650 serving in Afghanistan selected for promotion by a competitive board in November.

Caranto, who is from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, was selected for his work as a supply sergeant in the company.

"He deployed as a sergeant working in a staff sergeant's position, without the authorized supply specialist to assist him," said Capt. James J. Rowlands, commander of the 787th EOD Company.

"He has performed near flawlessly, processing 118 turn-ins of everything from dozens of computer monitors to seven Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles," said Rowlands, a native of Old Forge, Pennsylvania.

According to Rowlands, Caranto has kept accountability and advised on assets on five separate Forward Operating Bases in Afghanistan.

The 787th EOD Company is part of the Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington-based 3rd EOD Battalion, 71st EOD Group, 20th CBRNE Command (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives).

Based on 19 posts in 16 states, 20th CBRNE Soldiers and civilians train and operate with joint, interagency and allied partners around the world to counter Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), eliminate CBRNE threats and defeat improvised explosive devices.

While deployed, the 787th EOD Company is covering explosive ordnance disposal operations across half of Afghanistan.

The 787th EOD Company previously supported 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. The company is now supporting 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), as well as the 4th Infantry Division and 1st Cavalry Division.

"The unit has performed 523 missions ranging from munitions disposal to base protection to route clearance to support of named operations with direct targeting of enemy forces," said Rowlands. "Bottom line, we're a one-stop shop for all U.S. EOD support through half of the country."

Rowlands said Caranto's promotion demonstrates that every member of his team brings important skills to the fight.

"Staff Sergeant Caranto's selection shows the importance that every Soldier within our EOD formations plays in the success of the unit," said Rowlands.

Walter Ham is with the 20th CBRNE Command.