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Special award for RLC explosives expert

WO2 Kay Howells has been awarded the Special Award at the Women in Defence UK Awards for her work as an exceptionally skilled explosive ordnance engineer and Ammunition Technician.

Kay broke her back early in her career but through her determination and mental resilience she has become one of the Army’s most highly skilled bomb disposal operators.

Having joined the Army in 2004 and enrolled in her AT training, Kay learning all the skills she would need to safely handle, store and dispose of ammunition. This apprenticeship training set the foundation for her to go on and reach the pinnacle of her trade as an Advanced Manual Techniques Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) operator.

Currently one of the British Army’s most highly skilled bomb disposal operators, WO2 Howells is not only trained to deal with unexploded bombs, but also to safely dispose of improvised explosive devices (IED) in a hostile environment, including devices that could contain a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) threat.

Throughout her career, WO2 Howells has proven herself on the front lines of Afghanistan conducting high threat bomb disposal and more recently in Iraq using her technical expertise as a weapons intelligence operator. She has lived and fought in incredibly harsh conditions, overcoming both the elements and the enemy to keep her fellow soldiers and local civilians safe from the threat of IEDs.

Due to her technical skill and expertise she was selected to be the leader of the advanced counter IED team at Defence’s Explosives, Munitions and Search School. Here she has taught the next generation of EOD operators and acted as a role model to the young female soldiers going through training.

Not content to only encourage serving women, WO2 Howells has visited local schools as part of a GINI equality initiative to encourage young women into engineering and technical trades acting as an inspiration to the next generation of female engineers and technicians.