Navy EOD Reenlistment Checklist: Bathing Suit, SCUBA Tank, Africa

GULF OF TADJOURA, Djibouti (Feb. 12, 2012) - U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoff Shepelew, 221st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, holds the American flag during his underwater reenlistment off the coast of Moucha Island, Djibouti, February 12. Shepelew, a Virginia Beach, Virginia native, reenlisted in the U.S. Navy for another 6 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Joseph A. Araiza) CJTF-HOA Photo GULF OF TADJOURA, Djibouti (Feb. 12, 2012) - U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoff Shepelew, 221st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, holds the American flag during his underwater reenlistment off the coast of Moucha Island, Djibouti, February 12. Shepelew, a Virginia Beach, Virginia native, reenlisted in the U.S. Navy for another 6 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Joseph A. Araiza)
GULF OF TADJOURA, Djibouti (Feb. 12, 2012) - U.S. Navy Lieutenant Scott Pennoyer reads (right)  U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoff Shepelew, both of the  221st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, the  Oath of Enlistment off the coast of Moucha Island, Djibouti, February 12. Shepelew chose to reenlist underwater while during his deployment to the Horn of Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Joseph A. Araiza) CJTF-HOA Photo GULF OF TADJOURA, Djibouti (Feb. 12, 2012) - U.S. Navy Lieutenant Scott Pennoyer reads (right) U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoff Shepelew, both of the 221st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, the Oath of Enlistment off the coast of Moucha Island, Djibouti, February 12. Shepelew chose to reenlist underwater while during his deployment to the Horn of Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Joseph A. Araiza)
GULF OF TADJOURA, Djibouti (Feb. 12, 2012) - U.S. Navy Lieutenant Scott Pennoyer (left) and U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoff Shepelew, both of 221st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, hold the American flag during Sheplew's underwater reenlistment off the coast of  Moucha Island, Djibouti, February 12. Shepelew, a Virginia Beach, Virginia native, chose to reenlist in an unorthodox way while deployed to the Horn of Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Joseph A. Araiza) CJTF-HOA Photo GULF OF TADJOURA, Djibouti (Feb. 12, 2012) - U.S. Navy Lieutenant Scott Pennoyer (left) and U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoff Shepelew, both of 221st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, hold the American flag during Sheplew's underwater reenlistment off the coast of Moucha Island, Djibouti, February 12. Shepelew, a Virginia Beach, Virginia native, chose to reenlist in an unorthodox way while deployed to the Horn of Africa. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Joseph A. Araiza)
GULF OF TADJOURA, Djibouti (Feb. 12, 2012) - U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoff Shepelew (left) and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Scott Pennoyer  both of  221st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, hold the American flag while swimming during Shepelew's  underwater reenlistment off the coast of  Moucha Island, Djibouti, February 12. Shepelew, a Virginia Beach, Virginia native reenlisted in the U.S. Navy for another 6 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Joseph A. Araiza) CJTF-HOA Photo GULF OF TADJOURA, Djibouti (Feb. 12, 2012) - U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoff Shepelew (left) and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Scott Pennoyer both of 221st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, hold the American flag while swimming during Shepelew's underwater reenlistment off the coast of Moucha Island, Djibouti, February 12. Shepelew, a Virginia Beach, Virginia native reenlisted in the U.S. Navy for another 6 years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Joseph A. Araiza)
GULF OF TADJOURA, Djibouti (Feb. 12, 2012) - U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoff Shepelew, 221st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, holds the American flag while swimming during Shepelew's scuba diving reenlistment off the coast of  Moucha Island, Djibouti, February 12. U.S. Navy EOD technicians are SCUBA certified to complete various missions.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Joseph A. Araiza) CJTF-HOA Photo GULF OF TADJOURA, Djibouti (Feb. 12, 2012) - U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoff Shepelew, 221st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2, holds the American flag while swimming during Shepelew's scuba diving reenlistment off the coast of Moucha Island, Djibouti, February 12. U.S. Navy EOD technicians are SCUBA certified to complete various missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Joseph A. Araiza)

With a stream of bubbles emerging from his SCUBA system, the American explosive ordnance technician looked through the clear water off the African Coast at his officer and gave the signal. They were ready to begin their task.

The reason U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Geoffrey Shepelew, 221st Explosive Ordinance Disposal Mobile Unit 2 EOD technician, and U.S Navy Lieutenant Scott Pennoyer, 221st EOD Mobile Unit 2 EOD officer, both with Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, were underwater February 12 wasn't to neutralize explosives or search for threats—it was for a Shepelew to reaffirm his Oath of Enlistment to the U.S Navy.

The day you reenlist is "kind of like your birthday," said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Tara Gaiski, a fellow EOD technician "He should do whatever he wants for it."

"I thought I would do a standard reenlistment, then I took … (Gaiski's) advice to heart and I thought we'd try something fun," Shepelew, a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, said with a smile.

Shepelew weighed his options for his ceremony. The petty officer's first thought was to reenlist at the back of a military aircraft and then perform a static-line jump out of it with his team after he reenlisted.

When that plan fell through because of timing, he turned to another one of his passions—SCUBA diving.

Well before he joined the military, Shepelew, 35, earned his open-water dive certification in Australia and has been diving ever since.

Years later at the Navy recruiting office, a recruiter pitched the idea of being a diver. Shepelew mulled it over.

"I was considering commercial diving as a career but the training was very cost prohibitive, so the Navy could be my lead into diving," Shepelew said.

He was going to enlist as a diver, but was encouraged to go into EOD by a friend in the career field. In addition to diving, Shepelew was enticed by EOD opportunities to use explosives, weapons and jump out of airplanes, so he signed up for EOD school.

Since becoming an EOD technician, he has enjoyed the career field and consequently reenlisted for six more years. "I love my job because it's always an adventure. I really can't believe we get paid to do this," Shepelew said.

Pennoyer, who shares Shepelew's passion for the EOD career field, was thankful he was able to witness his shipmate continue his career.

Pennoyer said he was honored Shepelew asked him to be his reenlisting officer. "We told him he could do anything he wanted, within reason. He chose to do an underwater reenlistment, which not many people get the chance to do," Pennoyer said. "Since Navy EOD technicians are divers at heart, we chose to do it underwater … It went swimmingly."

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