By 2nd Lt. Stuart White
1st Cavalry Division public affairs
AL KUT, Iraq - During a routine patrol, 1st Lt. Christopher Morrow, a native of Austin, and Red Platoon Leader, Bandit Troop, 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, spotted ordnance on the side of the road outside of Al Kut, Iraq.
The patrol took place on Sept. 5.
Upon investigation, Red Plt. discovered an old, abandoned Iraqi artillery firing point containing multiple artillery rounds and approximately 50 fuses.
However, the "Saber" soldiers didn't have the equipment necessary to dispose of the unexploded ordnance, which is a potential risk to innocent civilians and could also be used to harm U.S. soldiers. Because of this risk, the platoon returned with an explosive ordnance disposal team to dispose of the artillery rounds and fuses.
When explosives or potential weapons are found, the team is called to follow platoons into the various sectors around Iraq to analyze and safely dispose of them. The team refers to these rounds as explosive remnants of war.
These explosive remnants of war are dangerous because it is unknown when the shells were made, what they are made of, the condition of the fuses, who left them, or how long they have been there. Patrolling platoons take explosives like these very seriously and treat each one as a potential threat.
"Even though there was no evidence of terrorist activity around the old firing point, disposing of leftover ordnance keeps the Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers safer, so finding any small amount of explosives is important," Morrow said.
Along with explosive ordnance disposal, the platoon partnered with Iraqi army soldiers to secure the site. Working with their Iraqi army partners is a part of every mission "Saber" squadron executes. Iraqi army facilitates all operations and works with United States soldiers to accomplish each mission.
"Executing the mission is always our first priority, but a key element of that mission is working with the Iraqi Security Forces because they are ultimately in charge of security in Wasit province." said Sgt. 1st Class Dallas McKay, platoon sergeant.
The "Saber" soldiers and their Iraqi army partners escorted an explosive ordnance disposal team to the old Iraqi firing point, and they secured the area for the team to gather the explosives.
The soldiers spread out over a large area and began clearing several old firing points, uncovering two Iraqi 130-millimeter illumination rounds, three 130-millimeter Iraqi high-explosive rounds, one Russian 122-millimeter high-explosive round, one unidentified white phosphorous round, and 49 fuses.
"Every mission is designed to prevent terrorists from harming innocent people or attacking soldiers," said Lt. Col. Cameron Cantlon, 6th Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment commander. "Bandit Red Platoon showed a lot of awareness finding these rounds, and it supports our mission."
The disposal team gathered all the explosives took them back to Contingency Operating Base Delta, and disposed of them using a controlled detonation.