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Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC)

EOD Group One Holds Change of Command

by Lt. John Mike
27 January 2023 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 1 welcomed its newest leader during a change-of-command ceremony at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Calif., Jan. 24.

Capt. Wade Hilderbrand relieved Capt. Ken “K9” Kleinschnittger in front of friends, family and military personnel during an outdoor ceremony.

Kleinschnittger said the opportunity to work with the civilian and military personnel at EODGRU-1 and its subordinate commands was a highlight during his time as commander.

“You are why people like me stick around. The things you do are so meaningful and important, and we’re blessed to be able stay around you,” said Kleinschnittger, whose next assignment will be at Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) in Little Creek, Va.

He also spoke about the importance of maintaining a humble-warrior mentality.

“You are entitled to work hard. You are entitled to be challenged like you’ve never been challenged before, and you’re entitled to serve the people next to you and this nation,” Kleinschnittger said. “Anything above that level of toil, suffering, and uncertainty must be earned by you.”

Commander, NECC Rear Adm. Bradley Andros used his keynote speech to discuss the importance EODGRU-1 plays in supporting national objectives and priorities.

“You are warriors who are carrying out some of the nation’s most demanding tasks in the some of the world’s most complex, remote and austere locations. Every day you give the fleet our very best,” said Andros. “We rely on you in countless occasions and demanded that you succeed in constantly evolving and sometimes unpredictable circumstances.”

Hilderbrand said he was honored to be a part of EODGRU-1 and thanked Kleinschnittger for his leadership.

“K9, under your leadership, the EODGRU-1 team has made numerous significant accomplishments. Thank you for your dedication to this command and to the EOD force. It is an honor to serve the EOD community in this role, I appreciate the opportunity, and I am very much looking forward to it,” said Hilderbrand.

Operating from Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, EODGRU-1 oversees the manning, training and equipping of EOD Mobile Units 1, 3, 5 and 11; Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1; EOD Expeditionary Support Unit 1; and EOD Training and Evaluation Unit 1. EODGRU-1 is also capable of deploying as a task force to support combatant commanders in accomplishing national objectives.

EODGRU-1 is a critical part of NECC that clears explosive hazards to provide access to denied areas, employs advanced tactics and technologies to exploit and secure the undersea domain for freedom of maneuver, builds and fosters relationships with trusted partners, and protects the nation.