Alex Burtness: Up For The Challenge

Growing up, Alex’s interest in technology and desire for challenge led him to unexpected places. Now, he’s using his skills where they’re needed most.



Taking the easy route has never been in the cards for Alex Burtness. As a teenager in Portland, Ore., Alex was passionate about problem solving and pushing his limits both personally and academically. That included coaching his school’s water polo team, taking advanced science and robotics courses, and being class president. “Alex doesn't choose the easy way. He doesn't shy away from challenges,” says his wife, Jessica. When he heard about the prestigious U.S. Naval Academy, he saw being accepted as his biggest challenge yet. 

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Ready For Anything

As an EOD officer, Alex leads his platoon in a variety of missions, utilizing the latest in robotics technology to render ordnance safe. Ordnance can be conventional and improvised, existing both on land and deep below the sea, so his team trains in both environments. “I feel that the whole team learns from Lt. Burtness in his example of leadership and work ethic,” EOD Tech Rusty Quinlan says about working with Alex. “He is always coming in early, leaving late and putting the team before himself. That's very important for us.”

Learn more about Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal


Alex and his team train in Special Patrol Insertion Extraction (SPIE), which allows his platoon to quickly maneuver in and out of dangerous environments that don’t allow for helicopter landings.

Watch a related video: “Explosive Ordnance Disposal (Air Force)”


Watch Alex and his platoon talk about the importance of trust and learn his team’s opinion of him as both an officer and a friend.

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    Career Field: Engineering & Scientific Research

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