EOD Marines Teach Students About Robotics

EOD Marines Teach Students About Robotics

SSgt Keith J. Losordo, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with 8th Engineer Support Battalion and native of Quincy, Massachusetts, shows Conor McGuire, a freshman in the Swansboro High School robotics team, how to remotely operate the Mk2 Talon robot during a demonstration given by the Marines of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company at Swansboro High School. Photo by LCpl Michelle Reif.

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Jan. 29, 2015) – Students of Ms. Shedd's robotics team are working tirelessly to prepare for the annual robotics competition in Raleigh, North Carolina. They spend every day after classes and every weekend building a machine capable of picking up and moving objects. When they had the chance to see military robots designed for reconnaissance and bomb disposal, the students were ecstatic.

The Swansboro High School Robotics Team sat in awe as three Marines set up and demonstrated two robots in their classroom on Jan. 29, 2015. After the Marines from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company explained some of the capabilities and statistics of the Mk2 Talon and the Mk1 Packbot, the students enthusiastically lined up for their turn to operate the operator control unit.

"We want the students to know that there is always a way they can keep improving," said SSgt J. Losordo, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with 8th Engineer Support Battalion and native of Quincy, Massachusetts. "There is always something better that they can build." 

The club is largely led and taught by the students themselves along with the help of a few volunteer advisors. The team relies on sponsorship and donations from the local community for funding.

"The students spend a crazy amount of hours working on their robot," said Barbara Shedd, an engineering teacher at Swansboro High School and native of Radford, Virginia. "For the Marines to come out and show them these robots means everything to them." 

"We love being on the robotics team because it is hands on and I love the problem solving aspect," said senior Mitchel Fink. 

The students don't need any prior experience in robotics to be on the team and they teach everything from digital electronics to soldering, explained Fink. 

Between taking turns navigating the bots up a set of cinderblock steps and racing them down the road, the Marines told the students what it was like to work with robotics as a career. 

At the end of the demonstration, the students proudly showed the Marines the robot they were building for the upcoming competition. The Marines admitted that they were impressed by the student's work. 

"It's so great for the students to see these robots and learn about all the possibilities for a future in robotics," Shedd said. "We want them to know that there are so many options for them to continue doing what they love."

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