Monday, November 12, 2007

Blowing stuff up

I recently had the opportunity to go on a weekend excursion with a group of National Guards... A demolitions group.

As a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I would let pictures do most of the talking with a little commentary from me.

First we unpacked everything. The materials included shock tube, detonation cord, cratering charges, detonators, initiators, and C4. There were no shaped charges but I will get to that later.

We set up an assembly line to prepare blocks of C4 to tie in to the main line of detonation cord for each firing. This involved tying special knots in the detonation cord, cutting the C4, inserting the detonation cord and taping up the cut C4.

Here are the boxes of prepared C4 charges from our little assembly line.

What happens when you set off 15 blocks of C4 explosive in an old broken microwave brought along for the ride? We aren't quite sure... the only piece remaining afterwards was a length of mylar that I think came from the microwaves power supply.

Here is my friend Kirk. Someone he knows works for the National Guard and made this opportunity available to us. Kirk has just finished tying two blocks of C4 strapped to a 40lb cratering charge into the main line of detonation cord for this firing.

We all had to wear kevlar helmets and flak vests. Here I am in my sexy getup (the kind of sexy only my wife can appreciate).

Here is the cloud from our detonation of five 40 lb. cratering charges and a large quantity of C4 that was getting old and needed to be disposed. I wished I could have taken some video, but a Major and a Colonel showed up for the detonations and insisted that we take shelter in the bunker. Otherwise, I think the team leader would have allowed everyone to watch from the top of the bunker 300 yards away from the range.

And finally, the hole left by the detonation. It would have been bigger, but we had to dig the holes in the clay soil where we placed the cratering charges. This meant the charges were near the surface where they couldn't work to their full potential. Normally shaped charges would be used to create 6-8 ft deep post holes in the dirt. The charges would then be placed in the bottom of these holes where they could work most efficiently.

It was several hours of hard work, but well worth it when the initiator was pulled.

1 comment:

Jennifer Pelo Rawlings said...

You know I think it's a very sexy getup. It's too bad that you couldn't bring it home.;-)