In an effort to combat victim initiated Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) against Coalition Forces, the military began using a method of detecting them before it was too late. The piece of equipment we use is called a mineroller. In short, it's a nifty contraption on the front of a vehicle that detonates the IED before the vehicle rolls over it, thus limiting the direct impact of the blast and the lives of countless personnel have been saved because of it. However, there are some downsides to this piece of equipment and I experienced one in particular today (don't worry, Leslie, nothing scary happened).
Because the roads in Afghanistan are terrible, and many of the vehicles we use aren't very condusive to this terrain, it's possible something on them to break every once a while. On the way back from a small village in the southern portion of our AO, our lead vehicle made a rough turn going up a hill and the mineroller broke. Luckily we were on our way back and had already swept the road for IEDs, so it did it's job! After assessing the damage, we realized that the only real solution was to just drive very slowly in hopes that it would not become worse. When fully mission capable (FMC), the mineroller will twist and turn in whatever direction the driver turns the steering wheel; but, now the assessment was that "it couldn't pass a sobriety test," according to one observer. It was twisting and turning in whatever direction it wanted.
In sum, for over 4 HOURS we drove 15 MPH and stopped periodically to fix it after going through another rough patch in the road (or lack thereof). While the layperson might consider this to be somewhat of a security concern, I can assure you that we were in no real or present danger (as evidenced by the 30 minute power nap I took in the back of the truck while we tied a towbar to the top of the mineroller in order to keep it straight). Thanks for the protection, big Army, but in doing so you took an extra 4 hours of my life that I'll never get back. Then again, I probably would've spent that time sitting in front of a computer making powerpoint slides. Nevermind!