clearing the fields and a main road in south Afghanistan from impoverished explosive devices (IED’s) so that a new foot and vehicle access patrol base may be put to good use.
A former hospital with thick concrete walls, a roof overhead and plenty of views in various directions will keep the soldiers of the Weapons Company, second battalion, second Marine Regiment quite busy for months ahead.
The first of two sections occupy the grounds with the Explosive Ordinance Disposal technicians arriving the next morning transporting five vehicles down a road known as the “route Giants.”
This team spent ten hours from dawn till dusk clearing the route Giants of impoverished explosive devices (aka IED). Using metal detectors, several Marines on foot slowly swipe the long polled device over the road ahead of the vehicles to detect these explosives. The road is not safe for travel until all explosives are detected, disassembled and subsequently removed.
The foot soldiers too will use the long device to detect their share of explosives in the poppy fields. Since the fields are now under their command as the single way to approach the enemy on foot, the fields must be safe to travel also.
This time only four explosives were found on the road. Usually there are a lot more devices found to disembark and many gun battles between the Marines, (Navy) Sailors and the insurgents.
Prior to moving in their new patrol and operations base, a flag ceremony is conducted with the setting of the Afghan flag and the United States flag flying together. We want the locals here to know that we are here for their protection and safety.
The first night is spent in the former hospital with its thick protective walls, wide windows with views of the surrounding area, roof access to a garden-like setting and a solid roof over their heads for safety and warmth.
According to Lance Corporal Stephen M. Earwood, a squad leader with the Weapons Company, “We’re sleeping with a roof over our heads which doesn’t happen very often.”
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April 20, 2010, Marine Corps News / by Lance Corporal Dwight Henderson