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Afghanistan: 'Don't get too close - if he goes up you'll go with him'

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  • Afghanistan: 'Don't get too close - if he goes up you'll go with him'

    It is one of the army's most dangerous jobs – finding and defusing IEDs, the homemade bombs that have been used to deadly effect by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    >>>

    "Guardsman James Stephenson is just 20 years old, but when the soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards leave their base in the Babaji area of Helmand, he leads the patrol. Stephenson's nickname is "Steveo", but on duty in Afghanistan, everyone calls him "Vallon Man". The Vallon is the metal detector used to sweep for bombs – and being a Vallon Man is one of the army's most dangerous jobs.

    The last five years have seen a sharp increase in the use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in Afghanistan. According to figures leaked last month, the number of IEDs increased from 308 in 2004 to 7,155 last year; a total of 16,000 were planted in those five years, killing at least 7,000 Afghan civilians. These devices have also caused the vast majority of all British and American deaths during the conflict, and are seriously hampering Nato's operations in the country. Of the IEDs recorded in last month's figures, 8,582 were found and cleared, but 7,553 exploded. The threat is so high that every patrol must be led by a soldier sweeping with a metal detector. However, the insurgents have started cutting down on the metal they use in the devices, making them harder to detect and more likely to have their desired effect.

    In February, Stephenson's friend Lance Corporal Darren Hicks, from the same battalion, stepped on an IED and was killed while patrolling as a Vallon Man. Five of the battalion's soldiers have died during this tour and a further six have lost their legs – all victims of IEDs. Stephenson admits to feeling terrified each time he leaves the gates of the patrol base."

    Report by Stuart Webb of the Guardian who talks to and photographs the men on the frontline.

    Read more here: www - life and death with IED's


    Staff Sergeant Gareth 'Woody' Wood does the lonely walk - he alone has to approach the IED, leaving his support crew a safe distance behind.

    <<<

    a very eye opening article on the effect IED's are having in modern warfare.

    no amount of money could persuade me to be the Vallon Man.

    God bless them all.

    Edit: please do not turn this into a Brit bashing thread like the others. i only posted it so you could get a feel for what is happening out there on a daily basis on a scale i hardly even realised.
    Last edited by RoyalGreenJacket; 10 August 2010, 23:20.
    RGJ

    ...Once a Rifleman - Always a Rifleman... Celer et Audax

    The Rifles

  • #2
    MOD: Anyone who makes any "brit bashing" comment on this thread will be banned - you have been warned.
    "Fellow-soldiers of the Irish Republican Army, I have just received a communication from Commandant Pearse calling on us to surrender and you will agree with me that this is the hardest task we have been called upon to perform during this eventful week, but we came into this fight for Irish Independence in obedience to the commands of our higher officers and now in obedience to their wishes we must surrender. I know you would, like myself, prefer to be with our comrades who have already fallen in the fight - we, too, should rather die in this glorious struggle than submit to the enemy." Volunteer Captain Patrick Holahan to 58 of his men at North Brunswick Street, the last group of the Four Courts Garrison to surrender, Sunday 30 April 1916.

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    • #3
      Jesus. When people ask what having balls is in future, I'll send them that picture.
      Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.

      Comment


      • #4
        you've got to admire men like that, and how modest they are about it too.

        respect.
        RGJ

        ...Once a Rifleman - Always a Rifleman... Celer et Audax

        The Rifles

        Comment


        • #5
          The ability of the Taliban to move quickly with their designs and therefore stay ahead of the game means that there is a lot of outside influence surely ? Who is responsible ? Pakistans ISI? Iran ? What's the general feeling/rumour/fact ?

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          • #6
            How those EOD guys can do that is beyond me. God bless 'em.
            "Everyone's for a free Tibet, but no one's for freeing Tibet." -Mark Steyn. What an IMO-centric quote, eh?

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            • #7
              A contact of mine who is an ATO, recently was awarded the QGM for his bravery in Afghanistan.

              I've got to say, hat's off to all involved in the EOD field.

              Comment


              • #8
                These are brave men indeed - the problem is that proper training is very time-intensive and the present effort to catch up will not show results until later this year.

                http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-...01005415637065

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                • #9
                  looks similer to the early birds in the Leb.?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sofa View Post
                    looks similer to the early birds in the Leb.?
                    what?
                    RGJ

                    ...Once a Rifleman - Always a Rifleman... Celer et Audax

                    The Rifles

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The boys doing that job have balls of steel.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RoyalGreenJacket View Post
                        what?
                        Basically route clearance patrols had to be done to some patrol bases/checkpoints etc in the Irish AO on a daily basis when we had a battalion with UNIFIL as what are now termed IEDs were routinely placed there and not just by the AEs (Armed Elements (eg Hizbollah)).

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                        • #13
                          of right, yeah we used to call them Mortar Baseplate Flips in Northern Ireland.

                          but i doubt any of us have done anything like what these lads do every day - the figures speak for themselves.

                          that's a staggering about of IED's and casualties.
                          RGJ

                          ...Once a Rifleman - Always a Rifleman... Celer et Audax

                          The Rifles

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I am trained in route clearance for when I served in the Leb. Excellent course. It was the Irish DF who found the Hairies "new" IED shapped and formed out of paper mache to look like a rock..saved a lot of IDF troops as well as our own.

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                            • #15
                              i'm trained in that too but even on the course when you encounter a hell of a lot more devices than you would in real life - it was still nowhere near the amount these lads encounter on a daily basis.

                              especially considering how far the enemy go out of their way to conceal and initiate some of these IED's.

                              fair play to them all, every single day must see their life expectancy decrease rapidly.
                              RGJ

                              ...Once a Rifleman - Always a Rifleman... Celer et Audax

                              The Rifles

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