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Navy bomb experts depart for Iraq

Bomb For what is planned to be the final year of the U.S. mission in Iraq, one of the top jobs of the remaining American troops is preparing Iraqi security forces to continue the fight against the insurgents' weapon of choice: the improvised explosive device.

And so two dozen sailors left Tuesday night from North Island Naval Air Station in Coronado to take responsibility for a 500-man joint task force overseeing explosive-ordnance-disposal forces spread throughout the country.

Most of the sailors have done previous war-zone deployments. For Capt. Edward Eidson, the group's commander, this will be his fourth deployment to Iraq.

"We train for this," said Chief Petty Officer Steve Tooker. "It''s our job."


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Photo: Corey Albright kisses his wife, Jennifer, before boarding a plane for Iraq. Albright and about 24 other Navy personnel will educate the Iraqi military on how to defuse bombs. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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