How do you handle a roadside bomb, when there's no robot nearby? Simple: you use one of those remote-controlled cars that kids have been playing with for decades."Yesterday, I was 'outside the wire,' patrolling with the 2nd Platoon. We came upon a possible IED [improvised explosive device] in the middle of the road, and stopped all traffic to check it out," writes Sgt. Greg Papadatos, of the 69th Infantry Regiment, in a Military.com diary.
A young private [named "E.S."] in that platoon has one of those radio-controlled toy cars. When they find unidentifiable debris in the road, E.S. sends out his little RC car and rams it. If it's light enough to be moved or knocked over, it's too light to be a bomb, so we can approach it and get rid of it. If it's heavy, we call EOD [explosive ordnance disposal -- the military's bomb squad]. At night, they duct tape a flashlight to the car.The military actually has robots that it uses for such things, but they are larger, slower, higher-tech, and frightfully expensive. Only EOD units have them, and you could wait for hours and hours before they show up with their robot. If 200 units read about this idea, and 50 units actually buy a toy RC car, and it saves just one single life, it would all be worth it.I've suggested to E.S. that he put some fancy paint and a couple of LED lights on his toy car, demonstrate it to some Army brass at the Pentagon, and sell it to them for $80,000. He won't actually try that, but it's fun to imagine. In the meantime, I've also suggested to some of his chain of command that they put him in for a commendation or a medal for his ingenuity. If he ever finds a real bomb with that toy car, they probably will. (via the Huffington Post)