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“In Afghanistan, one of the most respected professions among the soldiers was that of minesweeper. Without minesweeper along, no group ever went into the mountains, no car ever drove off the base, and no transport column ever set out along the road. There were mines everywhere: along the roads, on mountain paths, in abandoned houses. There were different kinds of mines: anti-transport and anti-personnel; mines that jumped out of the ground and mines that were activated by the vibrations of human steps; mines that killed any living thing for a radius of fifty meters; mines that were set off by radio and mines that were set off by mine-detectors. Often, bombs were placed under the mines, so that the explosions would be more powerful.
It was precisely on such a mine, one with a bomb underneath, that three minesweepers from my platoon were killed instantly in July 1985. Two others were gravely wounded, with severe concussions.
The names of those three minesweepers were not the last names to go on the list of those who had died in our platoon…
“Minesweeper? Is that the one who lays the mines?” I was asked once.
“No, he’s the one who gets blown away by them,” I answered….
A minesweeper has to work alone on a mine he finds – even if it explodes, the others will still have to check the road ahead. … ”
(From “Afghanistan: Soviet Vietnam” by Vladislav Tamarov)
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U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Daniel Bemenderfer, with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, uses a mine sweeper to search for improvised explosive devices in Nawa, Afghanistan, on Aug. 19, 2009. The Marines are deployed with Regimental Combat Team 3 to conduct counterinsurgency operations in partnership with Afghan National Security Forces in southern Afghanistan. DoD photo by Sgt. Freddy G. Cantu,U.S. Marine Corps.
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Can this crazy-looking ball save people from land mines?
Land mines are one of the most devastating weapons of war. They kill thousands each year and can destroy lives long after a conflict has ended. Hopefully this innovative solution will help curb their deadly legacy.