Tuesday, April 14, 2009
As I prepared the "Wednesday Hero' post for tomorrow, I read that PFC. Blohm died of wounds suffered when an IED detonated near his unit.
My mind immediately drifts to Zachary, who is hopefully out of an Afghanistan hospital by now. Zachary was injured on Saturday, when I an IED hit him causing a concussion and minor lacerations.
So I ask, what the hell is an IED? I learned an IED can be almost anything with any type of material and initiator. It is a “homemade” device that is designed to cause death or injury by using explosives alone or in combination with toxic chemicals, biological toxins, or radiological material. IEDs can be produced in varying sizes, functioning methods, containers, and delivery methods. IEDs can utilize commercial or military explosives, homemade explosives, or military ordnance and ordnance components.
They are unique in nature because the IED builder has had to improvise with the materials at hand. Designed to defeat a specific target or type of target, they generally become more difficult to detect and protect against as they become more sophisticated.
IED's have been used in conflicts, going back to VietNam. IEDs are the top killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Since the war began, 589 U.S. service members have been killed there, 434 of them in combat. More than 2,700 have been wounded in action, according to the Pentagon.
I also learned from a USA Today article, there is a 146% increase in soldiers who had been wounded; over this time last year. For whatever reason; Spring seems to spike IED activity.
Think for a moment, of our Soldiers returning home. They have witnessed brothers wounded or killed by these little monsters. Our Soldiers have been on the lookout constantly for anything that may resemble an IED; hidden in animal carcasses or right out in the middle of the road. Imagine, if you will....living in such a world and then coming home!