To celebrate Veterans Day this year, EM is highlighting former service members who have joined EM on their journey in civilian work-life!

What is your name and what do you do at EM?

Thomas D. Bachtell, Senior Program Manager, Technical Assistance Contractor for the EM Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project.

Senior Program Manager for the Technical Assistance Contractor (TAC) of the Moab UMTRA Project. Provides leadership and manages the completion of all TAC organizational work scope and goals in accordance with DOE requirements.

Thomas D. Bachtell  is pictured near Yangju, South Korea, north of Seoul and south of Camp Casey.
Thomas D. Bachtell is pictured near Yangju, South Korea, north of Seoul and south of Camp Casey.

What branch did you serve in?

U.S. Army, Captain

When and Where?

I completed Army ROTC and was commissioned a second lieutenant at the University of Iowa. I attended Armor Officer Training at Fort Knox. I was stationed in South Korea for two years and at Fort Irwin, California, for three years. I spent one year at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama to complete the Ordnance Officer Advanced Course and Explosive Ordnance Disposal School, before commanding an explosive ordnance disposal detachment in Presidio of San Francisco for two years. I completed my service as the branch chief of the Joint Nuclear Weapons Publication System for the Field Command Defense Nuclear Agency at the Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

Most Memorable Event or Moment during service?

There are numerous, but one stands out. While performing reconnaissance on my first improvised explosive device incident in Northern California, I discovered that the kitchen timer attached to five sticks of dynamite was at “zero.” That tends to get your attention.

How has your military service helped prepare you for the job you do at EM?

Team building and working with people to accomplish the mission. Effective communication, planning, preparations and operation management. Preparing for and managing contingencies and unexpected events/situations.

When did you begin working for EM and what got you interested in the cleanup mission?

I received my master’s degree in computer resources and information management in June 1999 and was looking for a position in Colorado to support my young family. I started DOE contractor work as the information resources manager at the Grand Junction Office in November 1999. The site transferred to the DOE Office of Legacy Management in July 2002. I transferred to the DOE Moab UMTRA Project as the support group manager, a contractor position, in July 2007.

In a way, cleanup was something that I had already been doing in my explosive disposal work. My experiences as a platoon leader, trainer, combat analyst and review officer, commander, and branch chief provided me with a background to help facilitate EM’s cleanup goals and mission. 

Read more EM Veteran Interviews