Friday, June 03, 2005

Robots, Airmen defuse unexploded ordnance

by Senior Airman Shaun Emery
332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

6/2/2005 - BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- With the help of new, faster and more agile robots, explosive ordnance disposal Airmen here have an opportunity to keep their distance from bombs set to harm servicemembers off the base.

Staff Sgt. Brian Robert Butler, an EOD technician here, said he looks at the robots as the unit’s best friend and cannot imagine doing his job here without them.

The robots take the place of EOD Airmen in the field. Using a remote control, Airmen guide the robots to the location of the munitions. They use the robot’s extending arm and cameras to figure out the type of ordnance and the best way to diffuse it.

“We can put two of these robots in one truck before we roll out,” he said. “It’s vital that we have more than one in case the first one breaks down. When it all comes down to it, the robots allow us to stay out of danger.”

Helping Robot Partner out of the truck

“If it’s not a robot out there, then it’s the team chief,” he said. “One mistake and we lose the person with the most knowledge in the shop. It’s OK to lose a robot, they’re replaceable. We’re not.”

Robots, Airmen defuse unexploded ordnance

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