CAMP TIGERLAND, BAGHDAD, March 24, 2005 — A new addition has been added to the Tiger Brigade family and taken up residence with the 1088th Engineering Battalion. The Buffalo is the most recent equipment to defeat improvised explosive devices and just like its name suggests, the 23-ton machine is made of monstrous proportions, and appears to be virtually unstoppable.
It is a heavily-armored vehicle designed for route clearance, giving patrols a closer look at suspected improvised explosive devices. This way it can be confirmed that an improvised explosive devices is present before bringing an Explosive Ordnance Disposal team onto the scene.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Cecil Piazza of Company A, 1088th Engineer Battalion, has played an active role in bringing the new addition to the 256th Brigade Combat Team. He explained how the machine works.
“It (the Buffalo) is equipped with a 30-foot extension, called an Ironclaw, which is operated from within the vehicle. Once an improvised explosive device is spotted by a route clearance team, it can be investigated without getting physically on the ground to look at it.”
The operator uses the Ironclaw to probe debris and dirt from around the questionable device and also has an extra set of eyes mounted on top to help decipher the identity of the object. Working hand in hand with a television screen inside the vehicle, a 200X Zoom video camera has a bird’s eye view of everything. According to Spc. Chris Johnson from Iowa, La., it has the capability to help the crew see clearly.
Once upon a time, while trying to figure out how to rid my home’s yard of moles, I stood in Home Depot looking over the plethora of mole traps. I didn’t buy any that day, and my wife asked why. I told her that, since there were about ten different types of traps for the same little rodent, none of them must work very well.
That’s what we’re seeing with IEDs in Iraq. Every couple of weeks we hear about the latest thing in anti-IED operations. No doubt, as time goes on, we will get a handle on the problem. But the fact that solution after solution is rolled into Iraq means that we are struggling to get it under control. If something really worked well at all, we’d stop trying so many new things.
But my hat is off to our developers who continue to work the problem and to our soldiers who beta test the new ideas. In the field.