Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Afghanistan through My Eyes - EOD on Joyce

Yesterday I took my last trip off FOB Fenty for the duration of my stay to FOB Joyce. The main purpose of this visit was to interview SSgt Rick Sommers from Cleveland Ohio. He is part of the EOD team of three that serves the 212 Brigade.

Here is SSgt Sommers in front of the JERRV 4X4. It's 23,000 tons with a B12 engine and can go up to 50 miles per hour.

The compartment is holding one of three robots they use to diffuse IED's.

SSgt Sommers is being assisted by Sgt Hurley Tessmann on his first deployment from Cambria, Wisconsin and SPL Corey Hoefer on his first deployment from Pembroke, MA

These guys are the epitome of brave. Besides diffusing the IED's and bombs they usually take fire. When SSgt Sommers is getting into his special suit complete with internal fan, they surround him with the vehicles because usually Taliban are waiting for them. It's not like they can sneak up quietly.

They all love their job, but sometimes the surreality of what they do in the middle of Afghanistan surprises them. Especially when they are taking fire, while detonating an IED as Afghan farmers head home with their crops tied to their back, like it's just an ordinary day in Afghanistan.

They had been working 48 hours straight when I met them.