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Embed update: Leave it to EOD to booby trap their HQ

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on March 23, 2012 at 6:26 am with No Comments »
March 23, 2012 6:26 am

Team leader Staff Sgt. Jonathan Taber of the 787th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company from JBLM gets help removing his bomb suit on FOB Lagman on the edge of Qalat, Afghanistan. Peter Haley / Staff photographer

Those guys in EOD units are a little different from the rest of us, and not just for their willingness to put on a suit like that one, walk up to a bomb and disable it.

They also have a different sense of humor. I’m assuming it’s a trait they share across their career field.

We checked in with the 787 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company here at Forward Operating Base Lagman and we’re hoping to write a story about them a little later.

Two old mortar rounds stood guard outside the door to their headquarters, kind of like garden gnomes for guys who really like blowing things up.

Inside, I hit a trip wire across the door frame.

One of these came at me until Capt. Jordan Howell grabbed it.

The front door booby trap of the headquarters of the 787th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company from JBLM is demonstrated on FOB Lagman on the edge of Qalat. The prank is a bit of mischief that helps fill their time since they have had few bomb calls lately. Peter Haley / Staff photographer

“I got a JAG captain with that. He was a friend of mine,” Howell said when I asked if anyone else hits the wire.

Welcome to EOD.

They’re a playful group who liken themselves to firefighters in that they tend to wait for calls for service, though they’re also charged with training Western and Afghan forces about how to deal with the bombs they find.

This company has 44 soldiers spread out around Afghanistan, mostly in the south. It deployed in December and had few calls until lately. In the past two weeks, at least one team has gone out on a call each day, though not necessarily from any single base, Howell said.

They tend to find homemade explosives consisting of fertilizer ingredients. Some of them can flip a 20-ton vehicle, EOD team members said.

“We’re getting ready for it to speed up in the next couple months,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Taber, 37, of Yelm.

Look for more from us on these guys in the weeks ahead.


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