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    Combat engineers spend quiet afternoon hunting IEDs


    Courtesy Story

    1-230th Cavalry Regiment

    Story by: Spc. Andrew Meissner

    When B Company, 16th Engineer Battalion, rolled into Karbala this month, they came ready for any mission.

    One of those missions included "quiet afternoon" looking for improvised explosive devices at a location that was a combat scene the day before. Task Force 1-37 is part of Task Force 1st Armored Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team.

    Pvt. Leo Preston said engineers always anticipate combat when they patrol. "When we roll out, we expect contact. We look for ambushes. We look for IEDs. We look for anything that will trip us up," he said.

    The combat engineers performed route clearance, destroying three IEDs. Some were destroyed with explosives; others were "disrupted" with gunfire. "We usually fire shots at it (with a) 50 caliber," said Preston. Looking for IEDs requires patience and vigilance, especially in the heat of an Iraqi afternoon. It is a difficult and dangerous job. If it's not done correctly, the consequences are dire.

    Wires leading over walls are a prime indicator of the IEDs found in this area, explained platoon leader 2nd Lt. Josey Sandoval, B Company. Some IEDs the engineers recently found were different from those the engineers encountered in Baghdad, he said.

    "Out here, we're seeing a lot of hard-wired artillery shells," Sandoval said. While on the lookout for enemy troops, a sniper's round zinged over the engineers" heads. Moments later came another crack of gunfire. A call came over the radio that a Soldier had been hit.

    The Soldier's Kevlar helmet had saved him from grave injury, but he required several stitches for a wound to his scalp. As the afternoon drew to a close, the engineers" M113 armored personnel carriers rolled back to the base camp. The trip back was dusty. The engineers were hot, but relieved that there was no close combat for them that day.

    "We're always looking for the enemy," said Preston, "We got to keep low and make sure no gets hurt."



    Date Taken: 07.06.2004
    Date Posted: 07.06.2004 10:24
    Story ID: 66

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