Henderson, NV – Sergeant Jason Wiedenman with the 3665th EOD is a self-proclaimed “pinball wizard”. This is because of his work repairing pinball machines in the civilian world. His official civilian job title is Pinball Repair Technician. There couldn’t be a more stark contrast between this and his military position as an EOD Team Leader.
“When I got off active duty, I’ve never been one to follow money, I want the experience of it all. I went from job to job, but I do things because they’re interesting. I fell into the pinball thing because my dad’s friend owns Ondrus Amusement, and he asked me to work for him. What’s cool is after I repair them I get to play. You have to make sure it works after you fix them,” Wiedenman said.
He Lives in Sawyer, MI and travels to Nevada to serve with his unit when duty calls. Traveling such a distance for drill has its challenges, but according to him it’s worth it, especially when there is employer support for the military. “There’s something about Las Vegas, but it’s pretty cheap to get here and back. The company I work for totally understands. My boss is fully on board and supports the military,” he said.
The 3665th EOD just recently completed their pre-deployment Culminating Training Exercise at Fort Carson, Co, June 2019. This has helped prepare them for their deployment to Afghanistan in late August of this year. Weidenman shared some thoughts as he prepares for his third deployment, he served two tours previously in Iraq: “This last train-up event and leading up to our road to war, it’s really getting my head where it needs to be and I’m ready to go again.”
After returning from annual training in March 2019, Sergeant Weidenman was awarded the Senior EOD Badge. This signifies a Soldier’s leadership capability, competence, and tactical abilities. “It’s the mark of a team leader,” he said.
First Sergeant Benjamin Hopper of the 3665th EOD discussed why Weidenman stood out and why he deserved this prestigious award. “For me I would definitely say he has that core of Infantry. I favor that because it creates a far stronger EOD Technician. If he’s already got the tactical side down that’s tremendous to me. That’s something I don’t have to worry about…I know he is an NCO that can take care things.”
SGT Weidenman shared some experiences and lessons learned from his two previous deployments to Iraq. “The best advice I can share is to make sure all your affairs are in order. Deal with all your problems back home so when you are over there you can focus on your job. Especially, being EOD it’s life or death.”
He concluded, “Really get to know your fellow Soldiers. You are brothers and sisters in arms. When you deploy that will be your family; learn to lean on them and depend on them.”
HENDERSON, NV, US
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