So I got to have a little fun last night. A convoy heading to my base got hit by an IED yesterday. No one was hurt, and there was slight vehicle damage, but other than that, it was a negligible occurence. I was on QRF (Quick Response Force) yesterday. So, when they got hit, they also spotted multiple other devices in the same area. It had been set up to be a compound, complex IED strike. Luckily, no more went off. As part of our taskings, QRF can be launched to escort and provide security to the Air Force EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal, aka the "Bomb Squad") to disarm and collect or neutralize the IEDs. So we hopped in our trucks and sped out to the scene. Most of what we did out there, I cannot divulge, due to Operational Security (OPSEC) concerns, but we were able to clear the road of dangerous devices.
The EOD guys have this cool remote controlled robot that has some cameras and a robotic arm that can be used to manipulate the IEDs or place explosives. This robot saves lives, for the fact is we can send a machine to a potentially dangerous place and not risk human life. Below is a photo of me with the robot. The others in the photo did not wish to be identified.
So we set up and began clearing the IEDs from the road. Our main job was security for EOD, but we had a quick second for the picture. Anyhoo...
There were four devices we had to neutralize. They blew the first two, and moved on to the second two. The third and fourth were close enough that the robot was able to pick up one of the devices and co-locate it with the fourth. When we got the charge set, the EOD Team Chief asked if I would like to be the one to set-off the charge by radio-control. I was like... HELL YEAH!!
So we all hunker down behind the EOD HMMWV. He showed me how to use the firing device, and I got ready to shoot the charge off. Oh, it was 5lbs of C4. These guys were not messing around. They have a bumper sticker that says, "EXPLOSIVES: If they don't solve your problem, you aren't using enough."
So I holler out "FIRE IN THE HOLE, FIRE IN THE HOLE, FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!!!!!!!!" (I have always wanted to yell that) and press the button. Silence. So, I press again. Nothing. And once more. Bolo. So the EOD guy says to me, "You know that if there's a mis-fire, you owe us a case of near-beer," and I said "Ya'll are just scamming me, you try it!" So I hand him back the detonator. He presses the appropriate buttons. Nada. So the Team Chief stands up , scratches his head, and goes, "Oh Yeah, the W-----K is on. (Not swear words there, just a name of an Electronic Warfare system that we have... that's all I will say about that.)
"Try it again," he says, handing me the detonator. "FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!" and mash the buttons down again. A millisecond pause, and I am thinking, "Oh great, not again!!" but then there was a bright flash and then a thunderous KA-DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!! Mission Accomplished. There was a mini-mushroom cloud of black smoke, and a big hole in the side of the road. Sweet. I love stuff that goes BOOM.
So, I ended up not having to buy them a case of near-beer. I think they should owe me, cuz they forgot to turn the doo-hickey off.
Well, that was my cool story for the day. I went to sleep knowing two things....and both made me smile.
1. I got to blow something up. Explosions are cool.
2. Another day gone, another day closer to being with my wife. I love you, Baby.