When ingenuity and engineering meet in the combat zone -- designs like the Mobile Area Cordon Equipment (MACE) stop.
Talon Robot on IED Patrol
After six hours on the road, Afghan National Army soldiers wave down the convoy and tell them about what they believe is a bomb in an abandoned building near the roadside. Staff Sgt. William Cook, a from Waynesville, Missouri -- goes to work. Cook is the unit's BIP or "Blow It in Place" guy. He has six-weeks of extra training in identifying explosive threats and destroying them. While 26-years old, with two deployments to Iraq and this one to Afghanistan, Cook still looks like a high school sophomore—but his formidable skills and knowledge have made him a Company standout. He pulls a $100,000 lawnmower-sized robot, called a Talon, from the back of one of the vehicles, and opens up his hardcase controller behind a mud wall near the house and sends the robot in. Looking at his viewing screen he sees what the robot's camera has locked onto. "Yep, it's a pressure pate IED with one yellow jug and a PMN mine." Once he gets approval from Battalion and the unit in charge of this particular "battlespace." Cook plans on sending the robot back in with a few bricks of C4 plastic explosives—and blowing the bomb in place as he says he's done 50 or 60 times already.