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August 23, 2012

Robots, bomb suits, help EOD perform mission at NTC

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By Staff Sgt. Joseph Wilbanks

Staff Sgt. Michael Harrison shows off the Talon IV robot at an EOD demonstration on Forward Operating Base Denver, located at the National Training Center Aug. 13.

Bomb suits and robots have become popular fodder for movies, television, and video games for the last ten years, but the portrayal is not always accurate.

The 734th Ordinance Company took time from their busy schedule at the National Training Center to demonstrate what these tools, and Explosive Ordinance Disposal, really do.

In an environment like Afghanistan, were the design of IEDs and landmines is limited only by the imagination of the person making it. EOD relies on mainly on their own skill, knowledge, and a whole lot of guts to perform a dangerous mission. And some amazing equipment really hones their already keen edge to razor sharp perfection.

“The EOD 8 bomb suit is a really good bomb suit,” said Staff Sgt. Michael Norris with the 734th. “It distributes the weight pretty well and it can withstand a blast. It will help protect you.”

The suit does help protect from explosions, but proficiency with this equipment comes at a price.

“The suit weighs about 86 pounds with the helmet,” said Harris. “To get accustomed to using the suit, we do physical fitness training in them sometimes including two-mile runs in the suit,” he added.

“The Talon Mark IV helps us see suspicious items and whatever we suspect might be an IED from a distance,” said Spc. Seth Kleckner 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 easy to use. It is a safe way to examine suspect items without the team leader having 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 to terrified to even consider doing. So why do these Soldiers 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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