Troops destroy 3 SA-6 missiles in Iraq vineyard
CAMP THUNDER, Iraq — Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery and 47th Explosive Ordnance Disposal destroyed three SA-6 surface-to-air missiles and their tracked launcher found in a vineyard about 10 miles north of camp.
According to 1st Lt. Noel Silva, battery executive officer for the 3-16th headquarters company, EOD personnel from the 47th used 140 pounds of C-4 plastic explosives to destroy the launcher and missiles last week.
The launcher was the size of a small tank and each of the SA-6 missiles were around 20 feet long.
Silva said in many cases the missiles will be taken away from where they’re found, but the EOD personnel determined that it would be unsafe to move these.
Many of the vehicle’s parts had already been taken by looters, including the metal parts holding the missiles to the launcher. The missiles were propped up with rocks.
“These we couldn’t transport; they were too sensitive,” Silva said. “Taking them off the launcher would have put our lives in danger.”
EOD personnel placed the explosives on the missiles and launcher as soldiers cleared people from within a 4,000-foot circle around the site. Soldiers in three Humvees blocked three roads entering the area.
The resulting explosion destroyed the missiles and launcher, sending a large fireball into the sky.
Earlier in the day Cpl. Brian Gonzalez and Spc. Matthew Barnes helped two 47th EOD members find and destroy six unexploded cluster bomblets from a farmer’s field nearby.
“They went into harm’s way,” to ensure that the field was safe for use, Silva said.
“We’re field artillery boys,” said Gonzalez. “We like that.”
Both units are based at Fort Hood, Texas.