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1st Cav. Soldiers discover unexploded Iraqi ordnance

September 29, 2011

By 2nd Lt. Stuart White, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division

AL KUT, Iraq (Army News Service, Sept. 29, 2011) -- While leading his platoon on a routine patrol Sept. 5, 1st Lt. Christopher Morrow of the 1st Cavalry Division, spotted unattended ordnance by the edge of the road outside of Al Kut.

Cautiously the platoon Soldiers checked out the ordnance and discovered the area to be an old abandoned Iraqi firing point containing multiple artillery rounds and approximately 50 fuses.

However, the Soldiers didn't have the equipment necessary to dispose of the unexploded ordnance, which is a potential risk to civilians and could also be used by insurgents to harm both U.S. Soldiers and Iraqi Security Forces. Due to that risk, platoon returned with an explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD, team to dispose of the artillery rounds and fuses.

When explosives or potential weapons are found, EOD is called to follow platoons into the various sectors around Iraq to analyze and safely dispose of ordnance. EOD refers to these rounds as explosive remnants of war.

These explosive remnants of war are dangerous because it's unknown when the shells were manufactured, what they're made from, the condition of the fuses, who left them and how long they've been where they were found. Patrolling platoons take explosives like these very seriously and treat each one as a potential threat.

"Even though there was no evidence of terrorist activity around the old firing point, disposing of leftover ordnance keeps Iraqi civilians and Soldiers safer, so finding any small amount of explosives is important," said Morrow.

Along with EOD, the platoon partnered with the Iraqi Army to secure the site. Working with their Iraqi Army partners is a part of every mission the squadron executes. The Iraqi Army facilitates all operations and works with U. S. Soldiers to accomplish each mission.

"Executing the mission is always our first priority, but a key element of that mission is working with Iraqi Security Forces because they are ultimately in charge of security in Wasit province." said Sgt. 1st Class Dallas McKay.

The Soldiers and their Iraqi Army partners escorted an EOD team to the old Iraqi firing point and then secured the area for EOD to gather the explosives.

The Soldiers spread out over a large area and began clearing several old firing points, uncovering several high explosive, illumination and white phosphorus rounds as well as numerous fuses.

"Every mission is designed to prevent terrorists from harming innocent people or attacking Soldiers. The platoon showed a lot of awareness finding these rounds, and it supports our mission." said Lt. Col. Cameron Cantlon, 6th Sqdn., 9th Cav. Regt. commander.

EOD gathered all the explosives took them back to Contingency Operating Base Delta, and disposed of them using a controlled detonation.

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