Theodore's World: A Visit To FOB Kalsu

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March 13, 2007

A Visit To FOB Kalsu

The Things That Get You

FOB Kalsu
There are plenty of nasty ways to meet with death or injury in Iraq. Examples of some of the cleverest devices targeting American troops are mounted on large sheets of plywood outside a dining hall at FOB Kalsu, about 25 miles south of Baghdad. It's a sobering display of the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the enemy: antipersonnel mines hidden in household items, pressure-sensitive explosives fashioned from slats of wood and wire, garage door openers that trigger artillery shells to rip open tanks.

The letters IED, for improvised explosive device, have become forever associated with the war in Iraq. These weapons are the greatest day-to-day threat to U.S. forces.

The display at FOB Kalsu, intended to help troops recognize common IEDs, is a poignant reminder of the dangers that soldiers routinely face in or out of their vehicles. The variety known as explosively formed penetrators- which American officials assert are coming from Iran—are particularly dangerous because of their ability to penetrate even armored vehicles. An EFP consists of a short tube that acts as a barrel for a machine-milled concave copper plate. When the explosive charge detonates, the force of the explosion creates a hot copper projectile that shoots from the barrel at hypervelocity and through nearly anything in its path.

It's hard to fully appreciate the force of this small weapon, even seeing how it can punch a hole through a vehicle's armor. One EFP attack on an American light armored vehicle a few weeks ago sent a copper slug a distance of more than 70 yards, through a concrete wall, then through the rear of a car, tearing through the trunk and the front and back seats, and finally settling in the engine block. In this case, the slug missed its intended target, and no one was injured.

Increasingly sophisticated EFP attacks involve four or more such explosives timed to explode simultaneously or in sequence against a single target. "They are getting clever about aiming EFPs at the engine and troop compartments," says an American commander who witnessed an EFP attack.

But the EFPs against patrols and convoys are only the latest weapons of choice for targeting U.S. troops. Insurgents still use traditional military weapons like mortars as well. Either hand-held or mounted on the back of a pickup truck, mortars can fire an explosive shell a distance of a mile or so, delivering a powerful, if often inaccurate, punch.

Incidentally, the camp itself was named for the only recently active professional football player killed in the Vietnam War. First Lieutenant James Robert Kalsu, a Buffalo Bills defensivewas a lineman from the University of Oklahoma who was voted the Buffalo Bills team rookie of the year in 1968, his first and only season with the team. He was killed two years later in the A Shau Valley in Vietnam during a mortar attack in Vietnam on 21 July 1970.

Wild Thing's comment......

God keep our troops safe and may they know how much we appreciate all they do.

Posted by Wild Thing at March 13, 2007 12:47 AM


Where's the Geneva convention those bastards on the left keep throwing in our faces? Doesn't apply to this type of weapon but we don't want to humiliate the little muzzies.

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2007 08:47 PM