Veteran, Ken Falke
Founder/Chairman Boulder Crest Foundation
Ijoined the US Navy in 1981 after a failed attempt to play professional ice hockey. As a child and through my teenage years, I grew up in a very military community. My dad had spent four years in the US Army and then became a policeman in Washington DC. Including my father, all my childhood mentors and bosses, teachers and scoutmasters were military officers. I was always intrigued when they moved in and out of our neighborhood by the stories they would tell of their overseas adventures. We had families moving in and out from Italy, Spain, England, Korea, The Philippines, Hawaii. These were all places I had only seen on a map or in TV shows.
23 years U.S. Navy
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)
When I first enlisted in the Navy, I had a dream of being a diver. I had grown up watching Sea Hunt and Jacques Cousteau and was always amazed by these programs. I was a great swimmer as a kid. We grew up with a pool in our backyard and I never feared the water, or what lied beneath it. When I got to bootcamp, I tried out to be a Navy SEAL. I passed all of the physical exams, except the eye test. I had never worn glasses or had my eyes tested before this, so it came as a great surprise, and disappointment. After bootcamp finished, I was working for a Navy SEAL while we waited on a possible waiver for my eyesight. Unfortunately, the waiver came back disapproved. I asked the Chief, "What I should do now?" His response was, "EOD." I said, "What’s that?" He said, "Explosive ordnance disposal, or bomb disposal." I said, "That sounds dangerous (naivety). He said, "It is." So, I ended up in the Fleet.
In the Fleet, I met a dive team and an EOD Team. The EOD guys were very impressive. These EOD guys were as fit and tough as Navy SEALs and very intelligent. After getting to know these guys, I started regretting not going to EOD School two years earlier. After a series of tests that I passed in screening, I was on my way to EOD training. All of our military services have EOD personnel. The unique thing about the Navy EOD program is that we are all qualified divers and parachutists. After making it through a grueling one-year training program, with one minor setback, my EOD career was off and running. Over a 21-year military career, I made over 1,000 parachute jumps, about the same number of underwater dives and led men on thousands of high-risk operations.
The one constant piece of equipment that I relied on for my entire EOD career, was a dive watch. Although I was never personally issued a BENRUS Type 1, I admired the piece on the arms of many of my teammates. As a diver, the timing of our dives is very important and we consider the dive watch as a piece of lifesaving gear. I am happy to see BENRUS bring back this limited run of the Type 1 and hope that all of those that want one are able to get one.