National Explosive Ordnance Disposal

Although most Americans probably haven’t heard of National Explosive Ordnance Disposal Day, it’s a holiday in the U.S. nonetheless. This day is observed on the first Saturday in May and honors those professionals who have lost their lives disposing of explosives, as well as those whose job it is to deal with dangerous armaments.

These professionals face the possibility of serious bodily injury and death to keep people safe from bombs. Although it’s not a day off for the general public or even a holiday that’s well-known among the public, it’s celebrated by those who work in these very dangerous fields.

The History of National Explosive Ordnance Disposal Day

Before World War II, there wasn’t an official Army unit that dealt with bomb disposal. As World War II raged across Europe, the U.S. watched and planned for the day when it would have to go to war too. That is when they began to develop units to deal with UXBs (unexploded bombs).

American authorities had first considered bomb disposal to be a civilian function. The Office of Civilian Defense established the Chemical Warfare School at Edgewood Arsenal. Eventually, it was realized that the job of bomb disarmament shouldn’t fall to civilian contractors but should be carried out by members of the military.

In January of 1942, the Ordnance Department formed a bomb disposal organization at Aberdeen. In April of 1942, the first enlisted men began bomb disposal training at Aberdeen. This training would include the identification of bombs, the proper use of bomb disposal equipment, rigging, and bomb excavation.

Some Important Facts About Explosives

Below are some of the facts that we’ve learned about explosives as we researched National Explosive Ordnance Disposal Day. Although we don’t consider ourselves to be experts on ordnance, we did learn a thing or two during our research. With that being said, let’s explore the following facts and see what there is to learn about these devastating and dangerous weapons.

  • Black powder was used in China during the 10th century, although there is some evidence that the Arabs invented it.
  • For 300 years, the composition of black powder has been 75% potassium nitrate, 15% charcoal, and 10% sulfur.
  • Black powder isn’t sensitive to friction or shock, so it must be ignited by heat or flame.
  • Nitroglycerin was discovered by Ascanio Sobrero, an Italian chemist, in 1846.
  • Dynamite was invented in 1867 by Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel.

Observing National Explosive Ordnance Disposal Day

Even though there aren’t many ceremonies performed on this day, and it’s not a day when people have the day off, it is a holiday for people to give their thanks and appreciation to the men and women who perform the difficult task of bomb disposal. This can be done using the hashtag #ExplosiveOrdnanceDisposalDay on the internet.

Where is it celebrated?
United States (Observance)
When is it?
This year (2024)
May 4 Saturday
Next year (2025)
May 3 Saturday
Last year (2023)
May 6 Saturday