You said the room was clear! IED smack dab in the middle
NAVY EOD STORY #1
MILItaRY NAVY EOD STORY #1 Intro
Welcome to the first story about my military career as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician.
This article has been added to my Navy EOD military stories section where you can find some other stories I have written.
Writing is a great outlet to help me with my PTSD and depression. I hope you enjoy what I have to share. If you like what you see, let me know in the comment section below.
COP CLEARY IRAQ 2007 NAVY EOD STORY PART 1
" We got a call " Curt yelled to me as I was walking around inside the skeleton of one of 2 greenhouses currently growing nothing but glass out of the once fertile soil. I quietly make my way back to our command post, catching glass sparkles in the soil as I head back to the CP.
Our command post consisted of a tiny tiled bathroom inside the only cinderblock building on COP Cleary. A command outpost somewhere near Iraq's green zone.
The US Army was forced to provide us a room to work out of while we were responding to IED calls in the area so they gave us what they thought was the worst room in the building.
As I walked out of the building with my gun and kevlar I noticed the quick reaction force or QRF gearing up as well.
NAVY EOD STORY PART 2
Once at our vehicle, I do my normal duties of our two-man Explosive Ordnance Disposal team. I double check the battery levels for all equipment, make sure all the gear is in its appropriate spot, and standby in the driver's seat of our JERRV or Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rapid Response Vehicle. A 32-ton blast resistant vehicle with 6 wheels, a V-shaped blast-resistant hull with 8" thick plate glass windows so we can safely get up close and personal with the insurgent's primary weapons of choice; Improvised Explosive Devices or IEDs.
NAVY EOD STORY PART 3
Team leader brief
Curt jumps in the Team Leader position ( The passenger seat ) and gives me the current details of what they know so far. A few hours ago another command outpost in the area took enemy small arms fire from a standard flat-roofed stucco over cinder block 2.5 story house just outside the perimeter.
The Army responded to the threat by sending a unit to the house to respond to neutralize the attackers. Once they arrived on the scene, they breached the courtyard, cleared the house, and discovered what was described as a long pointed cylindrical shaped object on the second story balcony.
NAVY EOD STORY PART 4
Arriving on scene
2 hours later we safely arrive on the scene, conduct various safety measures to ensure a safe command post location, and prepare to get to work.
Curt gets out of the vehicle to meet up with the On-Scene Commander to receive the most up to date information on the situation while I stay in the nice air conditioned JERRV prepping the gear that I think we are going to need for this particular call.
This sounds more like a UXO or Unexploded Ordnance call from what I know so far so I prep the various backpacks that we will need to complete the call.
Once Curt gathers all of the pertinent information, he re-enters the vehicle to conduct our brief. According to the OSC, the team that arrived at the compound, breached the gates, gained access to the house, cleared all the floors and discovered an RPG shaped object on the top balcony which was similar to our initial information.
We could never rely on initial details because the having to deal with the telephone game in life or death situations can end up going south very quickly, if you don't get the facts straight.
NAVY EOD STORY PART 5
ENTERING THE HOUSE
Due to the location of the suspect item, and the information we were given, we decided to not worry using either the EOD Talon or Pack robots because while climbing stairs with a robot is definitely doable, this situation didn't really require it, and it can be a very slow process.
NAVY EOD STORY PART 6
The smell of black powder
As we enter the house, there is the very distinct smell of one of my favorite smells burnt black powder. Neither Curt nor I make any mention of it to each other.
It would make sense that the house would smell like gunpowder if the insurgents were shooting from it right?
Since we were told that the house had been cleared before we got there we decided to make our way to the second-floor balcony where we located the suspect ordnance item.
An old ratty oil stained burgundy t-shirt stuffed and twisted into the shape vaguely resembling a rocket-propelled grenade. After the verify that this item poses no hazard we decide to take it with us, and double check the rest of the house to make sure nothing was missed.
NAVY EOD STORY PART 7
MY SPIDEY SENSES START KICKING IN
As I am walking down the stairs from the 2nd floor to the first floor I catch a whiff of that pungent gunpowder aroma again, and my spidey senses start going off.
Almost like I had something, or someone guiding me, I walked directly to a specific room in this house. Maybe it was just that the smell seemed to be getting stronger, but either way I poke my head through an open doorway and smack dab in the middle of the concrete floor is something I have only ever seen in UXO identification posters.
NAVY EOD STORY PART 8
AN IED STARING RIGHT AT ME
Sitting proudly in the middle of the supposedly cleared room is an Italian VS 2.2 Anti Tank landmine. It's beige color and unique design instantly gives it away. Curt?! I calmly yelled. You need to come in here, there is a landmine in the middle of this room.
" Well, now I know why it smelled like gunpowder when we came in. " " No smoke, that is a good sign. " I thought to myself still a little bit in shock at what I was looking at.
As I waited for Curt to come down the stairs I realize exactly how this device was supposed to function.
The gunpowder smell which was very strong in this room was from an improvised time fuse which had been lit and left to slowly burn towards its final destination. The fuze well on the underside of this landmine. I know this because I could see faint ghost like scorch marks snaking up to, and under the IED.
Fortunately for the QRF that initially responded to the house, the time fuse either got snuffed out when it went under the landmine, or it failed to make the 90 degree turn to the improvised blasting cap. I would later learn that the 10-12 army guys gathered right next to this room when the IED would have went off which would have really made for a bad day.