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    Soldiers blow up terrorist safe-route

    Soldiers Blow Up Terrorist Safe-route

    Photo By Sgt. Eddie Reyes | FOB KALSU, Iraq -- Soldiers from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd...... read more read more

    FOB KALSU, Iraq " For Soldiers from the 73rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Detachment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, blowing stuff up is routine business.

    When they get to use their detonation abilities to deny terrorists freedom of movement with the confiscated explosives of the week, it takes their jobs to a whole new level.

    Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., together with a team from 73rd EOD, launched Operation Cobra Cutter July 8 to eliminate a terrorist safe-route, which allowed vehicle travel across a canal and served as an escape route for terrorists placing roadside bombs on the roads in Haswah, which is located in the northern Babil province.

    The mission was two-fold, said Capt. Aaron Scheinberg, platoon leader, Company B, 2nd Bn., 8th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT. "We planned to remove the terrorists" access in an out of the area, but the way we accomplished the mission was rather ironic. We took the rounds found in weapon caches, and would-be bombs in the area, and used them to blow up the same routes the terrorists use to hide and emplace these munitions. It was actually poetic justice," said Scheinberg.

    The mission presented several dangers for Soldiers of 2nd Bn., 8th Inf. Regt., due to the possibility of booby traps near the crossing. The Soldiers in charge of escorting and providing security for the EOD team approached the location slowly, patiently searching for command wiring used to detonate bombs and suspicious objects possibly rigged with explosive devices. The booby trap sweep took more than an hour to complete, and Soldiers did not find anything out of the ordinary.

    "The hardest thing about the actual mission is coming in and out trying to detect roadside bombs and booby traps," said Staff Sgt. Chris Woodruff, section sergeant, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 8th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT. "We had to make sure the site was secure before we started pulling perimeter security."

    After leaders on the ground deemed the area safe, EOD Soldiers began preparing the area for demolition. Using the artillery and mortar rounds acquired from terrorist caches, Soldiers laid the materials evenly in the middle of the pathway. They then taped more than 300 pounds of C4 explosives on top of the materials and added extra explosives at the ends of the route to ensure its destruction.

    Before detonating the munitions, Soldiers searched the area for civilians, livestock and property near the sight, which could be damaged from the blast. Two families living nearby were escorted to a safe location along with all of their animals. With Soldiers and civilians several hundred meters away from the blast site, EOD detonated the explosives.

    "The explosion was pretty loud," said Pvt. Chris Peer, tanker, Co. B, 2nd Bn., 8th Inf. Regt., 2nd BCT. "The flames and the smoke looked really cool in the sky. It's something you don't normally see in the civilian world."

    After the area was declared safe, EOD and 2nd Bn., 8th Inf. Regt. Soldiers walked over to the blast site and inspected their handy work " "mission complete!"

    Prior to the day's mission, Soldiers placed barriers in front of the pathway to stop traffic from coming in and out, said Woodruff. Terrorists adapted to the tactics and figured out a way to remove the blockade. After much deliberation, Coalition Forces decided destroying the entire entry and exit points would be the best deterrent against the terrorist threat.

    "The barriers we used were being compromised after just a couple of weeks," said Peer. "It's going to be much harder for the terrorists to compromise because instead of blocking the route, we destroyed it. They could try to rebuild it, but it is going to take them a long time."

    "There was nothing really left of the pathway," said Woodruff. "It was a long drawn out mission, but in the end, we saw a cool explosion and are now in a better position to catch more bad guys since they don't have a shortcut anymore."



    Date Taken: 07.17.2006
    Date Posted: 07.17.2006 14:23
    Story ID: 7197
    Location: ISKANDARIYAH, IQ 

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