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February 17, 2011
For the past few months,
LSCD Suckling has worked
as part of the Explosive
Ordnance Disposal (EOD)
team as an explosive ordnance
reconnaissance operator in the
Miribad Valley, Afghanistan.
"It's part of a clearance diver's job
to do EOD. The right paths aligned
for me to come to Tarin Kot, so here
I am working with the team," LSCD
LSCD Suckling has served in the
RAN for 11 years. He said he initially
joined up as a marine technician and
never envisaged his career would lead
him where it has.
Facing the elements
Blowing up unexploded ordnance and preparing
equipment to disable IEDs in Afghanistan may
sound like unusual tasks for a sailor but, for LSCD
Michael Suckling, it's just another day on the job.
ABCIS Melanie Schinkel reports.
was really successful.
and IED components
because it takes
resources away from
-- LSCD Michael Suckling
"I have no
egory because I
being a diver."
Life at sea can
has the dust,
extreme heat and
cold to contend
"It's just dif-
ferent to be work-
ing out in the
elements like the
Army does. We've spent 12 days living
out of a vehicle, eating 'rat packs' and
sleeping on the ground. On some of
those nights the temperature dropped
"Because I'm in the Navy I get to
grow a beard, which helps when it's
cold, but it's a sore talking point for
the Army and Air Force guys I work
He said he predominantly worked
at patrol bases in the Miribad Valley
and that when a patrol reported some-
thing suspicious, his role within the
EOD team was to prepare tools and
equipment for the EOD technicians
and blow up any unexploded ordnance
or munitions found in caches or IEDs.
"If an IED or weapon cache is
found during a patrol, one of the two
EOD technicians I work with will get
a handover from the engineers or who-
ever found it. The EOD technicians
will then prepare themselves to exploit
it, so my job is to get their entire kit
ready, whether it's explosives, pull
lines or whatever they require."
The highlight of LSCD Suckling's
deployment so far has been participat-
ing in Operation Boston.
He said tens of thousands of rounds
and weapons, including six 303 rifles,
six AK47s, 40
of grenades, rock-
et launchers and
went out simulta-
neously to search
rant searches and
mation from the
owners and occupants of qalas. As the
patrols found ordnance and IED com-
ponents, the EOD team exploited it.
"Operation Boston was really suc-
cessful. Recovering ordnance and IED
components is significant because it
takes resources away from insurgents."
LSCD Suckling may be the only
sailor in his EOD team, but LEUT
David Shirvington, POCD Michael
Barnes and POCD Darren Leyds are
also working within other EOD teams
at Multinational Base Tarin Kot.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: LSCD Michael Suckling takes a brief well-
deserved break after a significant weapon cache find during Operation
Boston in Afghanistan.
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