Soldiers with Gold Platoon, Lightning Troop, 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment had a close call Thursday when they just missed stepping on a hidden bomb while investigating an earlier explosion....

Many initially thought the explosion was a mortar that landed just outside the walls of Combat Outpost Scorpion in Mosul, where the soldiers were staying. First Lt. John Parlee, the platoon leader, led a handful of soldiers out to investigate the crater and determine what had happened.

Soon after Parlee’s patrol set out, Iraqi army guards told him that they thought the blast was a roadside bomb, not a mortar. The Americans found a hole in the road surrounded by oil, but couldn’t determine whether the hole came from the explosion or had been there for some time. Unsure, they combed through a rubble-strewn field just outside the base’s wall.

An interpreter working with the troops yelled to a number of men milling, asking them for information. As soon as he did, they began closing up shop and ignored the Americans. They eventually marched en masse to the Americans, hands held high. One of the men told the Americans that a Scania truck had been pulled away from scene after the explosion. The soldiers headed back to investigate the hole.

After several troops walked around or over a piece of white burlap that had been there the entire time, recognition hit: It was the pressure plate to a second bomb.

Soldiers marked the bomb’s location and waited for an Iraqi army cordon and bomb team to arrive.

Planting multiple bombs in one location — and then targeting troops who respond to an explosion — is a favored tactic of insurgents.

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