Inside the "Baghdad Bomb Squad"

ferraro_close.jpgAfter months of preparation, and three weeks in a warzone, my entire trip to Iraq has been boiled down to 29 hours. But that day-and-a-smidge shift with Team Mayhem, a U.S. Army bomb squad, winds up being pretty damn action-packed.Booby traps, smoking mortars, rooftop gunfire, suspected truck bombs, roadside explosives, and an idiosyncratic little robot named Rainman all figure prominently in the story, which appears in this months Wired magazine. Mostly, though, the article is about the battle of wits thats being fought between high-tech U.S. military squads and low-tech insurgent bombers. Improvised explosives have become the deadliest threat to soldiers and civilians alike in Iraq. So the winner of this fight largely determines the fate of the counterinsurgency.But getting a clear picture of this tangle has been tough; military bomb squads, or "explosive ordnance disposal" units, are ordinarily shrouded in secrecy, operating in shadows. This is one of the first times theyve allowed a reporter in for an extended stay.So click here for a look inside The Baghdad Bomb Squad. Once youre done, you can take a look at 140 pictures I shot during my time in Iraq. And here are some reports on American troops morale, and my online diaries from Iraq. Enjoy56003232_JM_2043_79CBCF23C6527A807217E89A459CF1E4.JPGTHERE'S MORE: Capt. Greg Hirschey, the commanding officer of the 717th Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Company (which inlcludes Team Mayhem), just dropped me a line. Two of his sergeants, he said, "were hit with an IED yesterday with injuries to their security element. I just walked into the shop from an incident and received word that our Air Force augmentation team was hit with an IED just minutes ago... It is hectic right now once again. Seems like it never stops. Here is a photo of my shot from this morn."

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