By Mass Communication Specialist (SCW) Paul D. Williams, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs
April 27, 2010 - VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Two Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 12 received Bronze Stars during a ceremony held April 23, for their performance during combat operations while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Lt. j.g Michael Haytasingh and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class (EWS/PJ) Dewayne Cheatham were both awarded the Bronze Star Medal by Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
"It's not an award that I take lightly," Cheatham said. "A lot of people who work real hard don't have a chance to get it."
While Cheatham served as the team leader for EODMU-12 Platoon Two in Iraq, the team conducted 12 post-blast analyses, where the technicians gathered forensic and biometric intelligence needed to prosecute suspected bombers as well as develop intelligence against enemy tactics. Cheatham personally responded to 72 emergency EOD response missions, resulting in the safe disposal of 2,550 hazardous ordnance items and depriving the enemy of 9,954 pounds of explosive material.
"I had a really good time working with my team members," said Cheatham. "Being a team member is a real hard position, you have to be very knowledgeable."
EODMU-12 will present a total of 32 Bronze Stars, six Meritorious Service Medals and 46 Army Commendation Medals for its Sailors' actions while deployed to Iraq. Cmdr. Christopher Merwin, commanding officer of EODMU-12, attributes his command's success to the high level of professionalism displayed by each Sailor in the unit.
"It's incredibly humbling and incredibly rewarding," said Merwin. "I am immensely proud to be a part of, and in command of, a unit that is having such a strategic effect with these highly trained technicians."