November 29th, 2006 03:30 EST
Soldiers pull security, EOD keeps streets safe
CAMP LIBERTY — A group of Soldiers stand in line for lunch as they jokingly make fun of one another, like good friends do, until they get a call on the radio – ‘An improvised explosive device has been found.’
Before the voice in the radio can finish, the Soldiers take off in a sprint toward their humvees.
In a matter of minutes, Soldiers from 1st Platoon, Battery B, 1st Battalion, 7th Field Artillery, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, are geared up and mounted in their up-armored trucks ready for their mission.
The platoon’s mission – provide security for the explosive ordnance disposal team while they work keeping other Soldiers safe.
Each Soldier in the security team has an equally important job to accomplish.
Spc. Reginald Winston, gunner, 1st Platoon, and a native of Casagrande, Ariz., said,. “When the call comes down I gearup, climb up the turret, quickly slam down an energy drink and say the Lord’s Prayer. Then we roll.”
While driving on the streets of Baghdad a plethora of thoughts may run through a Soldier’s head, but for 24-year-old Winston his teammates’ safety is on his mind.
“I get a little nervous when I’m in the gunner’s hatch, but my main focus is being the eyes for the rest of the guys in the truck. I’m constantly scanning for snipers and more IEDs,” he said.
He wants to keep his platoon as safe as possible, and wants to give EOD a safe environment in which to work, Winston added.
Soldiers are trained for the urban combat environment. They attend many classes on IEDs and how to spot things that are out of place.
Winston knows when something is out of place on a route he has taken before. He feels it in his gut when something is wrong, he said.
“It makes me feel good that other Soldiers are spotting these IEDs ahead of time. It helps me know that all of our class time is worth it in the end,” said Winston, who has already spent two years in a combat zone.
“I trust the guys in my platoon whole heartedly,” Winston said. “I know how well they have been trained. Whatever my team leader says is gold. I know he wouldn’t steer us wrong.”
When they get to the site of the IED, Winston’s platoon provides security while EOD works quickly to safely detonate the explosives.
The security team knows their mission is almost complete when the explosive technicians detonate the find, Winston said.
“It’s then time to head back and prepare for the next mission.”
(Courtesy of Pfc. Shea Butler, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)