EOD in Iraq

By Hutcheson, Joshua | Soldiers Magazine, July 2003 | Go to article overview
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EOD in Iraq

Hutcheson, Joshua, Soldiers Magazine

EXPLOSIVE ordnance disposal teams will be busy in the days ahead, ridding Iraq of devices such as grenades rockets, missiles and mortar rounds that remain buried in fields or laying in streets and front yards.

"My guys take risks in order to minimize the risks to others," said CPT Bryan Sopko, commander of the 725th EOD Company from Fort Drum, N.Y. His unit supported the 101st Airborne Division during its advance through Iraq.

One of the first sites they cleared was at an agricultural school in An Najaf, where the division's 1st Brigade had set up its tactical operations center.

A weapons cache found in the school and weapons and ammunition found at other sites throughout the city were taken to a pit and destroyed. But completing the roundup of explosives hadn't been simple: Unexploded ordnance was spread over a large area; some was found in the streets and some was found intact within yards of where soldiers worked and lived.

The 1st Bde. soldiers also told the EOD teams they were guarding an Iraqi truck full of rockets that were marked with symbols that might indicate chemical weapons. Another report hinted that a nearby building contained mortar shells that had tested positive for mustard gas.

In another part of the city, a street was littered with KB-1 submunitions--golf ball-sized explosives that had been scattered when munitions-carrying tracks had been destroyed.

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