Chair Force Engineer

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Pink Mist Club

The sobering experience of my Friday was learning about unexploded ordinance: how to spot it, how to report it, and how to avoid getting killed.

It takes some realistic training to truly appreciate how dangerous The Sandbox really is. Death can lie concealed in a styrofoam block (painted like a rock) or inside an animal carcass--in the form of an IED. It can be a small mine, hidden in the desert scrub, with its tripwire barely perceptable to the human eye. While nobody wants to think they could fall victim to such a simple trap, the truth is that IED's, mines, and other booby traps are highly-effective means of turning a human being into a "pink mist." While we've certainly honed our defenses against IED's, the enemy has to get it right just once to send an American home in a pine box.

I have to admire the mettle of the Airmen who could spend months in Iraq, survive numerous convoy attacks, and then talk to us about it with a straight face, never showing any signs of pent-up anguish or rage. They must take some solace knowing that their training will save others from joining "the pink mist club."