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EOD investigates rocket attack threat

Army News Service

Release Date: 8/11/2003

By Pfc. Kelly Hunt

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (Army News Service, Aug. 11, 2003) -- Explosive ordinance personnel discovered a rocket thought to be aimed at Bagram Air Field, Aug. 2. Local nationals alerted them to the possible threat and handled the situation through the combined efforts of troops.

The call came from counterintelligence personnel following a tip from the local police chief, said Sgt. William Conard, 797th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

On-scene intelligence translators gathered information from the local population on the situation. They notified EOD that wires had been separated from the rocket by the locals, disarming the device prior to their arrival.

Escorted by military police from the 293rd MP Company, Fort Stewart, Ga., EOD personnel continued to further investigate the area to ensure its safety.

"We made sure there were no secondary devices and looked for trip wires and booby traps," said Conard.

Once personnel declared the area safe, troops from the Military Police Investigations team joined in the mission, searching for leads on who may have been behind the crime.

"(Investigators) were unable to get any fingerprints off of the rocket because of the dust," said Staff Sgt. Barry Peterson, 797th Ord. Co. (EOD), team leader.

"Everything went really smoothly," he added. Peterson and Conard believe the success of the mission is credited to the joint effort of all involved.

"It was a joint mission and the mission couldn't have been accomplished without (everyone's involvement)," said Conard.

"The security team played a large part in (the mission's) success," said Peterson. "They secured the area, they secured the vehicles and they made sure we were all safe going to and from (the site), so the rifle platoon made everything a lot easier on us."

Security is highly important during these kinds of missions due to the possibility that they are a set up. The rocket could be a ploy to draw coalition forces in, said Conard. "You don't know who's out there; you could be set up for an ambush."

This was the EOD team's first time being called on for a rocket attack threat, said Capt. Jeffrey Ford, company commander, 797th Ord. Co. (EOD). "We've only been here eight weeks, so that was the first occurrence where (we) have found a launch site," he said.

Ford added launch sites have been detected and rocket attacks have happened in the past, but this was his team's first encounter with the threat.

(Editor's note: Pfc. Kelly Hunt is a journalist with the 4th Public Affairs Detachment in Afghanistan.)

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