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.

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