Cool, calm, collected… and just “a half stroke off normal”

22/01/2018 Group Operations Advisory


In our fascinating video about life on the front line of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) disposal, one of Optima’s Team Leaders Doug, candidly says he recognises that the people doing his job are often “half a stroke off normal”.

Such extraordinary qualities are clearly a very good thing. Combined with deep knowledge and calmness they are the qualities that drive Doug to walk out into the forbidding climate of Iraq every day, focused solely on the systematic clearance of lethally cunning explosive devices. Qualities that enable him and others to risk their lives to reclaim land and facilities in a bid to return cities like Mosul to a state which will allow rebuilding and resettlement in the wake of ISIS occupation.

Throughout the video, we discover just what Doug means when he says there is “nothing that is ever routine with our day”. We learn the difference between landmines and IEDs. The nature of IEDs means every one is unique, requiring hours of painstaking assessment and meticulous actions to render it safe for disposal. He also makes it clear just how massive the task is, telling us how finding 30 to 50 IEDs in a 50 metre stretch of road is not unusual.

Take a look at the video and we’re sure you’ll agree that a tricky day at work for the rest of us will never feel quite so difficult again.