BAGHDAD — Handling live grenades, directing your team’s movement, prepping blasting caps, and wiring up a detonator, all while standing a few feet from one ton of unexploded ordinance and 300 pounds of plastic explosive.

This is the definition of multi-tasking, and is also just part of the job for Pontiac, Mich., native, Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Bartley, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 704th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team.

Soldiers from the 9th Iraqi Army Division backed three flat bed trucks up to the blast site, on the outskirts of eastern Baghdad, shortly after dawn, Oct. 26, and three hours later, finished unloading what Bartley dotingly called “a nice bang.”

Hundreds of mortar shells lay about a sea of mortar tubes, rocket propelled grenades, Russian made anti-tank grenades to form a piece of abstract art made waiting for destruction.

And it is important to destroy that piece of art as it helps keep Soldiers safe, said Bartley. “The terrorist will use anything to hurt us; if it can explode they will find a way to use against us. That’s why getting out here and putting a charge through it is important and, lucky for me, that means we get to blow something up.”

Blowing it up is the collective goal of every Soldier present on Besmiayah Range Complex, and with the ordinance stacked and organized, Bartley and his team call for the placement of C-4 charges to cover the bed of ordinance.

Once the ordinance is wired all personnel are moved well out of harm’s way. This is the culmination of what EOD does, explained Bartley.

“This is what it’s all about. Five… Four… Three… Two… One… Fire in the hole!”

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BAGHDAD -- Handling live grenades, directing your team's movement, prepping blasting caps, and wiring…