EOD Soldiers show off tools of the trade
Staff Sgt. Joseph Wilbanks,
1st BCT, 1st AD Public Affairs:
FORT IRWIN, Calif. – Bomb suits and robots have become popular in movies, television and video games for the last decade, but the portrayal is not always accurate.
The 734th Ordnance Company took time from their busy schedule here at the National Training Center to show what these tools and explosive ordnance disposal units really do.
In an environment like Afghanistan, where the design of improvised explosive devices and landmines is limited only by the imagination of the person making it, EOD Soldiers rely mainly on their own skills, knowledge and a whole lot of guts to perform their dangerous mission – and, of course, some state-of-the-art equipment hones their already keen edge to razor-sharp precision.
“The EOD 8 bomb suit is a really good bomb suit,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Harrison, with the 734th Ordnance Co. “It distributes the weight pretty well and it can withstand a blast. It will help protect you.”
Though the suit helps protect Soldiers from explosions, proficiency with this equipment comes at a price.
“The suit weighs about 86 pounds with the helmet,” said Harrison.
To get accustomed to the suit, EOD Soldiers sometimes do physical fitness training in them, including two-mile runs, Harrison added.
While a bomb suit will protect you, no one wants to walk up and poke a land mine with a stick. So how do these Soldiers find out what they are dealing with from a distance?
“The Talon Mark IV helps us see suspicious items and whatever we suspect might be an IED from a distance,” said Spc. Seth Kleckner, also with the 734th. “It has claws on it, and we can move stuff around remotely so we can be as far away as possible from the suspicious item.”
The robot is operated by one person and is easy to use. It is designed to be a safe way to examine suspicious items without the need for the team leader to walk up and look, added Kleckner
These are just a few of the tools EOD uses for their job, a job that most people would be too terrified to consider doing. So, why do these men – all volunteers – take on this challenge?
“I wanted something challenging, and it’s exciting,” said Harrison, “but we really just want to make sure the Soldiers come home safely.”
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