Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

In harm’s way

Press Democrat.com  July 3, 2011

As the sun blazed on a rocky southern Afghanistan hillside, Air Force Staff Sgt. Mark Badger watched his bomb squad teammate get blown up by a buried explosive device.

Moments earlier, Badger, 30, who was born and raised in Santa Rosa, had stepped away from Senior Airman Daniel Johnson along the road where they were clearing bombs in the violence-prone Kandahar province, a Taliban stronghold.

Johnson took a single step in exactly the same direction Badger had just walked, and 40 pounds of chemicals packed in a plastic jug exploded beneath his feet.

“I remember it like it happened yesterday,” said Badger, now stationed at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. He lives near the base with his wife, Trisha, and their 8-month-old daughter, Scarlet, and still suffers headaches, confusion, sleep loss and other symptoms of brain injury from two bomb blasts in the span of three days last October.

There are about 5,500 bomb techs in the four branches of the service, and their job is probably the most dangerous one in Afghanistan. Unable to match American firepower on the ground or in the air, the Taliban plant roads, fields and some buildings with IEDs (improvised explosive devices), most of them buried and triggered by pressure plates or by command wires up to a half-mile long.

“Anywhere you step could be an IED that will blow off your legs or kill you,” Badger said.

Please read the entire story at the Press Democrat

July 3, 2011 - Posted by | Afghanistan, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Traumatic Brain Injury, Uncategorized | , , , ,

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