An Army Bomb Technician Reveals What His Life Is Really Like

Explosion

Bomb disposal is the process rendering hazardous explosive devices safe by defusing them or blowing them up in the most controlled way possible.

Members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams are the Army’s preeminent tactical and technical explosives experts.

They deal with all types of bombs, including Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that have become a huge threat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So what’s it like to defuse and detonate bombs for a living?

We came across this revealing thread on Reddit created by a member of an EOD team that served two tours in Iraq with the U.S. Army. He answered questions for about six hours until his username and all of his answers were deleted.

It's not like the movies

Bomb technicians are volunteers

You have to want it, it's volunteer only. I love blowing s*** up! On a more serious note, I don't have a death wish and this job makes me feel alive. I like to think I'm saving lives and helping the greater good.

One less device is one less kid dead in a landmine is Laos, or one less family without a mum, dad, son, daughter and so on in America or Baghdad.

I'm pushing $75-80k I think. But my benefits are all military so I don't pay for those. The job gives us special pays as well.

There isn't much reward other than personal satisfaction we are hardly in the public eye. The money is nice but you can't use it as a pink mist.

People that burn out usually keep it under control and then they just get out. You volunteer for this job, you can say f*** it I'm done at any time because the Army can't technically make you walk down and disarm a bomb.

Source: Reddit

Bomb suits are awesome (but hardly indestructible)

It is made out of Kevlar and steel plates.

Anything over say 10lbs of pure high explosive is scary because it negates the protective effects of the bomb suit at 0 ft.

Source: Reddit

So are bomb robots (and they have names)

We always bring robots. Always.

The bots are great because it makes our lives easier and safer. There are devices that require a delicate human touch though, using a robot is like use a sledgehammer to drive a nail.

You do develop an attachment to your robot. It's like a dog. We named our robot and everything. That piece of machinery is an extension of you.

We had a Talon with a pink teddy bear that we taped to the antenna. That robot made it 11 months and survived hundreds of incidents until he was blown up by a car bomb. RIP Scooby :'(

Source: Reddit

Every potential threat is treated as real

You ALWAYS assume worst case scenario and downgrade from there.

We have kits that we carry that can test for explosives, that's usually how we confirm.

We use an Ahura product to spectroanalyze substance. It's a device that uses a laser and whole bunch of awesome science.

I think we're averaging 20 calls a month...You're on call a week at a time, and it rotates between teams. You also have other jobs around the shop like Chem guy, Supply, maintenance, etc.

Source: Reddit

Most of the time they choose to destroy rather than defuse what they find

And they prefer to do it at the detonation range

You're basically setting off the main charge of explosives with the energy from the counter charge (your explosives). All explosives are sensitive to heat, shock, and friction.

We just take it out there and apply enough C-4 to countercharge the main charge (the explosives in the device). Most of the time we dispose by detonation.

Never really drop things....we do a few thermite and/or gasoline burns like when we want to get rid of small calibre ammunition since detonations will just send that shit flying everywhere.

Small arms ammo? Burn it with copious amounts of gasoline and thermite.

Source: Reddit

Bomb technicians love to train and they use an obstacle course called the EOD rodeo

My favourite scenarios are hand entry procedures like backpacks, suitcases, coolers, etc. There are so many different ways to make a bomb that it's like solving a puzzle.

It's hard to say one scenario gives better training than the other, but any time you have a scenario that encompasses all aspects of an incident scene is the best.

It helps you learn how to set up perimeters, deal with fire/med/police, ensure public safety, etc.

We train on scenarios like that frequently. Guy stepped on mine; can't step off. Something strapped and locked to someone (usually neck). For a mine, we'd probably have to dig a lot and come in from the side.

Source: Reddit

Makers of bombs are creative (and not afraid to use animals)

Sheep. All the time.

Had an artillery projectile stuffed inside a dead sheep. We countercharged that thing and it was raining fur.

They go for cheap and easy. Once the ordnance ran out overseas they started making fertiliser based explosives with cheap electronics parts.

They're usually ghetto, done in a rush. If it's a device by an organisation then it's probably neat and labelled via some internet manual.

It's hard to describe trends because the device is left up to the imagination of the bomb maker.

Source: Reddit

Almost anything can be a trigger

Cell phones and cordless phones ... Car alarms, motion sensors, acoustic to name a few. Anything is possible.

If you have a bomb in a dark room you want the room to stay dark in case it is triggered by light. White light is more intense than light filtered through a dark coloured lens.

Source: Reddit

Bomb technicians make bombs

We armed with the knowledge to construct explosive devices so that we are better versed in knowing how they operate.

When we make devices though, we tend not to use live explosives for safety reasons, instead we'll use some inert training aids with speaker or buzzer penalties to indicate when they technician has set off the device.

Sometimes we also use electric squibs or electric matches for more realism factor.

We make them for each other. Practice makes perfect.

Source: Reddit

Aspiring bomb techs must be qualified and dedicated

Can't be colorblind. While wires may not matter, different colour markings on ordnance does.

Pass a physical and mental eval, no felonies, be eligible for a top secret clearance, and have a valid driver's licence.

School was tough, it's like drinking from a fire hose. Pracs are the fun hands on part, class room is brutal.

We're very employable. Contracts, federal, state...there will always be bombs in the world.

My electrical knowledge came from basic circuitry and research I do on my own time.

I just think of it as something I love doing. Helps to be a dark humored person though.

Source: Reddit

It's just not something I dwell on. I do take solace in the fact that if it's my time to buy the farm that it will more than likely be swift and painless (we call it the pretty pink mist).

I try to experience as much as I can in life and tell my close friends and family that I love and appreciate them as much as possible.

Source: Reddit

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