Naha, Okinawa. 1967. Master Sgt. Laurence Klees of the US Army’s 196th Ordnance Battalion concentrates on the dangerous task at hand as he disarms a 500-pound World War II bomb that was found during construction at Naha on the island of Okinawa.The previous year, 21 years after the end of the war, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Section on Okinawa still received 854 calls and removed 92 tons of explosives. Some of it was detonated on the island, the rest was dumped at sea.
Green Beret from 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) and Soldiers from the 192nd Explosive Ordinance Disposal Battalion
conducting a training exercise at Fort Pickett, Virginia on September 21, 2015. The pre-mission training prepares the two units for their real-world missions.
A pararescue specialist from the 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, attends to Senior Airman Joshua Calara, 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron armament systems technician, during a joint mass casualty and extraction exercise at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Airmen from the 83rd ERQS, paired with soldiers from the 717th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit to increase interoperability with each other and demonstrate theater personnel recovery capabilities. Before pararescue specialist could care for and recover wounded patients, EOD members, cleared and secured the area by identifying, removing and disposing of simulated ordnance in the area and from crashed vehicles carrying explosives.
Senior Airman Kyle Green, 83rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron pararescue specialist, cuts the hinges on a mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle door to better access simulated victims.
(U.S. Air Force photos by Senior Airman Justyn M. Freeman, 18 AUG 2016.)
Soldiers from the 28th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company on Fort Bragg, react to a simulated improvised explosive device during a training event on Nov. 4, 2015. The 28th EOD Company is the only airborne EOD company in the U.S. Army.
A U.S. Soldier assigned to the 706th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company, Task Force 4-25, organizes ordnance for destruction at the demolition range at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khost province, Afghanistan, Sept. 2, 2012. Soldiers disposed of ordnance and equipment deemed unusable.
I failed a test because I crimped a fucking M7 blasting cap 1 FUCKING MILLIMETER TOO HIGH! Now bye bye EOD and Im getting put in another MOS. I don’t get to choose my new job and I have to do “Whatever the Army needs most”. If they give me a job where I can’t either A) blow shit up. or B) Shoot people in the face. Im going to leave the Army and try my luck at something else.
US Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal robot nicknamed Johnny Five, is blasted backward into mid-air while investigating an improvised explosive device during a route clearance operation with the Annihilators of Company A, 2nd Platoon, Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, in Kirkuk, Iraq.
The cache that contaminated Sergeant Duling’s team was not the first discovery of chemical weapons in the war. American troops had already found thousands of similar warheads and shells.
These repeated encounters sprang from a basic feature of the occupation: After the invasion, Iraq became a battlefield laced with hidden, lethal traps — most tied to the country’s protracted history in the global arms trade.
Iraq had attacked Iran in late 1980, expecting quick victory against a military sapped of officers by Iran’s revolutionary purges. Mr. Hussein also thought Iranians might rise against their new religious leaders.
He miscalculated. By June 1981, as Iran blunted Iraq’s incursions and unleashed its air force against Iraqi cities, Mr. Hussein was seeking new weapons. He created a secret program — known as Project 922 — that produced blister and nerve agents by the hundreds of tons, according toIraq’s confidential declarations in the 1990s to the United Nations.
Iranian soldiers wearing gas masks southeast of Basra, Iraq, in 1987, during the Iran-Iraq war. In the 1980s, while at war with Iran, Saddam Hussein created a secret program that produced blister and nerve agents by the hundreds of tons. (Associated Press)
War provided urgency; Mr. Hussein added the cash. Western nations, some eager to contain Iran’s Islamic revolutionary state after the American hostage crisis from 1979 to 1981, lent Iraq support.
With remarkable speed, Iraq built a program with equipment and precursor purchases from companies in an extraordinary array of countries, eventually including the United States, according to its confidential declarations.
German construction firms helped create a sprawling manufacturing complex in the desert south of Samarra and three plants in Falluja that made precursor ingredients for chemical weapons. The complex near Samarra, later renamed Al Muthanna State Establishment, included research labs, production lines, testing areas and storage bunkers.
MUCH OF THE STOCKPILE WAS EXPENDED OR DESTROYED, BUT THOUSANDS OF CHEMICAL SHELLS AND WARHEADS REMAINED.
Iraq produced 10 metric tons of mustard blister agent in 1981; by 1987 its production had grown 90-fold, with late-war output aided by two American companies that provided hundreds of tons of thiodiglycol, a mustard agent precursor. Production of nerve agents also took off.
Rising production created another need. Mr. Hussein’s military did not possess the munitions for dispersing chemical agents. So it embarked on another buying spree, purchasing empty ordnance — aviation bombs from a Spanish manufacturer, American-designed artillery shells from European companies, and Egyptian and Italian ground-to-ground rockets — to be filled in Iraq.
As these strands of a chemical weapons program came together, Iraq simultaneously accumulated enormous stores of conventional munitions.
Much of the chemical stockpile was expended in the Iran-Iraq war or destroyed when the weapons programs were dismantled after the Persian Gulf war of 1991. But thousands of chemical shells and warheads remained, spicing the stockpile of conventional ordnance left unsecured in 2003 after Iraq’s military collapsed as the United States invaded.
Chemical munitions can resemble conventional munitions — a problem compounded by Iraq’s practice of mislabeling ordnance to confuse foreign inspectors and, with time, by rust, pitting and dirt.
These were the circumstances that combined against ordnance disposal teams as they pursued their primary duty in the war: defeating makeshift bombs.
Almost all of the bombs were made with conventional ordnance or homemade explosives. Here and there, among the others, were bombs made from chemical arms.
FORT LEONARD WOOD, MO — After months of planning, Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division joined other units during a week long exercise at Fort Leonard Wood. Chemical, Biological, Radiation, and Nuclear (CBRN) Platoons from the 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat Teams, 82nd Airborne Division, and an Explosive Ordinance Device (EOD) Teams from the 737th EOD performed battle drills at the training site as well as receiving class room instruction and tours of the FLW facility. The purpose of this training is to strengthen the troopers’ ability to fight anywhere in the world at a moments notice.