11 Dec. 2008
PR# 2008-702

Children help find IED component in Zabul

A fire team with the Zabul PRT clears a bridge near the city. The team found two un-exploded ordnances near the site.

KABUL, Afghanistan – Discovering one mortar round, in the pre- IED stage is good, discovering a 122mm artillery shell in addition is astounding. A keen eye, outstanding situational awareness and with the help of local children, the Zabul Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) did just that.

The mission started out as a normal foot patrol to access a near by bridge and a newly constructed soccer field in the city. As the security team came to the bridge, one fire team was sent forward to inspect under the bridge, that’s when Army Sgt. Michael Riley spotted the first artillery round.

“As we walked up to the bridge, I stayed to the right, attempting to check under the bridge,” said Sergeant Riley, Alpha team leader. “As I got closer, I noticed the round laying on the right side of the bridge.”

Sergeant Riley yelled back to this squad leader, who after setting up a cordon and securing the area called for the explosive ordnance disposal team to come.

 At this time there were local civilians trying to cross the bridge, Sergeant Riley and his team crossed through the river to the far side of the bridge to conduct security. The language barrier made it difficult to keep everyone a safe distance away, so the team called for their interpreter, John, to come and help with the situation.

“At first people did not understand why they were being stopped,” said John. “Once it was known that there was an IED, most of the people left, but all were very happy we were there to dispose of it.”

The specialists arrived on site and disposed of the round. As the team started to move toward the soccer field which is being funded by the PRT, local children yelled to John that they knew where “another one of those was,” but that it was much bigger.

Excited to help out the team, the children took off running toward the artillery round. There was concern that the children would get too close to the round, stated Staff Sgt. John Fuesting, 3rd squad leader. The children had found it playing in the area earlier that day.

There in a ditch was a 122mm artillery round.

“There was no telling by who or when it was placed in that spot,” said Sgt. Bryan Chapman, 4th squad leader. “The kids were playing near it and that was threat enough for us.”

Once again Sgt. Chapman called for the specialist team to come and dispose of the ordnance.

“I could not ask for more out of all of the soldiers,” said Sergeant Chapman, “They train hard for situations like these and exceeded the standards. Sergeant Riley had his fellow soldiers’ safety at the forefront of his mind and that showed in his situational awareness and his attention to detail today.”

“The men did everything right,” said Scott Corrigan, security forces platoon leader. “They did what they were trained to do. With their great situational awareness there are two less ordnances that can be used to harm the Afghan people and coalition forces.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
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