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As war drags on, so does the battle against roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan

October 28, 2009 |  7:48 am


As Marines train at Camp Pendleton, Twentynine Palms and the Bridgeport mountain center for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, much of the effort is aimed at thwarting the improvised explosive devices that are the top killer of U.S. troops.

The U.S. has spent billions of dollars studying the insurgents' use of so-called IEDs and looking for ways to detect and detonate the bombs before they can cause destruction.

But the best technology for spotting a buried bomb continues to be a sharp-eyed Marine, soldier or sailor.

To find out what characteristics good bomb-hunters share, the Pentagon-based Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization studied 800 military personnel, putting them through a series of tests, a kind of "Where's Waldo?" with a serious purpose.

What they found is that two groups were particularly good: personnel with rural backgrounds that included hunting, and those from tough urban neighborhoods.

For the full story, see here.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: An Iraqi soldier watches as an improvised explosive device is detonated. Credit: Department of Defense

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