As part of the Ron Haviv Photojournalism Master Workshop at the Palm Springs Photo Festival, I had the priviledge of spending the day with the US Marine Corps EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) unit at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center - 29 Palms, CA. These men represent the highest standards and traditions of the Corps in one of the most hazardous professional specialties of the United States armed services. I was invited to accompany a Sweep Team on the gunnery range as they investigated and neutalized possible unexploded ordnance - which is a walk in the park for these decorated Marines, who in the theatre of combat operations are regularly called upon to diffuse car bombs and IED's.
The day began with a mission briefing by "Master Guns" (aka Master Gunnery Sergeant Loechler) and again a short tailgate briefing in the field before setting out on the sweep. The sweep itself consists of three vehicles driving abreast of each other about 50 yards apart with all personnel visually scanning the dry lake surface for rockets, morters, or artillery shells that may still contain explosives and present a hazard to personnel. Items identified as suspicious are destroyed with a charge of C-4 explosive which is detonated with a time fuse. The explosions are amazing and occasionally one can hear shrapnel whiz by seconds after the blast and an ominous reminder of the inherant hazards associated with this military specialty whose motto is, "Initial Success or Total Failure".
My thanks to Capt. Mannweiler, Public Affairs Officer, Maj. Callahan, the unit OIC, and Master Gunnery Sergeant Loechler for kindly welcoming an old ex-Marine into their ranks for a day and allowing me the opportunity to document EOD activities.
Note: These photos are available for purchase or licensing and any profit derived will be donated to Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society ( http://www.nmcrs.org
Sony DSLR-A850 |
Original size: 3936x2582 |
Current: 800x525 |