Author Topic: Formal EOD Collaboration with Collectors, Museums, Archeologists, etc.  (Read 571 times)

Selma Hunter

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I hope this posting is encouraging for all concerned.  The purpose in introducing Tom Gersbeck to our community (and us to his) is to begin the process of FORMALLY educating the practicing EOD cadre concerning the handling and preservation of period ordnance.  Tom teaches at the Graduate School of Forensic Sciences located at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa.  Tom strongly supports the preservation of period ordnance and to that end has incorporated that belief into his classroom instruction materials.  The handbook is his textbook and a field guide for course graduates.

An introduction to the “Practical Military Ordnance Identification” handbook, second edition, by Tom Gersbeck, MFS (Master of Forensic Science), and Daniel Evers. This brand new publication is written for practicing EOD technician.  Gersbeck’s background in the USMC carried him to a number of duty stations and deployments until his retirement as a chief warrant officer in 2001.  Following his separation from the USMC Gersbeck worked as an Explosives Specialist with the Federal Air Marshal Service for seven years.  After that he deployed as an independent contractor working under contract throughout the Middle East, Africa and other locations around the world as both a technician and a field instructor to various governments. Today the author is active in the day to day classroom education and training of EOD personnel from all branches of the military, civilian agencies and selected foreign origins in his role as the lead classroom instructor in the field of EOD forensic analysis for Oklahoma State University.
Of particular interest to the collector of historical military artifacts of all periods is chapter 13 of the new handbook.  The authors present period ordnance to the EOD technicians of today as having some degree of potential danger but this information is tempered with due notice that such ordnance material should be safeguarded from unnecessary destruction .  Too often those of us in the “community of interest” hear of uninspected, harmless and sometimes priceless projectiles being destroyed out of sheer  ignorance, boredom or, as it sometimes seems, spite.  The story of the curator at the museum in Pennsylvania who called in the local EOD guys and had them remove and destroy artifacts recovered long ago from a submerged Rev war shipwreck is the worst of the events that fall into the “ignorance” category.  The destruction of a collection in Georgia some years ago by the local sheriff following an accident (caused by an ill-advised de-milling technique) was as clear case of spite as I can recall.  Both of these examples are the very kind of event we all hope to avoid in the future. 

Tom teaches EOD science to technicians from all agencies of the government from across the US and the world.  He is trying to emphasize the preservation of all period/historical munitions whenever possible.  To this end he will need our support serving as a cadre of consultants who can be contacted by the various EOD teams whenever needed to identify found materials wherever they are found around the US & elsewhere.  If you are willing to participate in this effort please contact tom as follows:

Tom Gersbeck, MFS
Graduate Faculty (AEFTI)
Oklahoma State University
Tulsa, OK
(609) 214-8771

Thank you, Tom, for joining us in this worthy effort.

Tom Gersbeck

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