If you've ever deployed to the Middle East, then you've probably experienced a few explosions here and there, heard a firefight once or twice, and smelled some pretty nasty sh*t burning nearby.
Well, that burning sh*t is either the bad guys torching tires as a signal to warn others that allied forces are in the area, or it's the smell of a burn pit coming from a military base.
For years, troops serving on the frontlines have burned their unwanted trash, either in barrels or in large burn pits, set ablaze with diesel fuel.
U.S. Marine Anthony Swofford (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) burns the "sh*tters" as a form of punishment. (Screenshot from Universal Picture's Jarhead)
Since burn pits are the primary avenue through which troops discard their waste products, plenty of items get thrown into the pits that shouldn't be near an open flame — like the following.
5. Unspent rounds
It's common for troops to experience a misfire when discharging their weapons for various reasons. After they clear the chamber, they either let the unspent round fall to the ground or, sometimes, they get tossed into a burn pit.
That's a bad idea. Bullet projection is based on igniting the gunpowder inside the shell as a propellant. No one wants to get shot by a burn pit.
Just because the primer was struck and nothing happened doesn't mean the round is dead — it's still alive. Sort of like a zombie.
4. Human remains
This is just nasty. Who wants to smell a bad guy's leg roasting over an open flame in the burn pit? On second thought, please don't answer that.
Various types of batteries will explode if exposed to intense heat. No troop wants to get hit with shrapnel during a firefight, let alone get blasted by battery fragments while inside the wire.
2. Miscut detonation cord
Occasionally, small amounts of det cord get improperly cut, resulting in some unwanted wire that gets tossed away. No bueno.
If certain det cords come in contact with an accelerant, the heat from the fire can cause an explosion. Being too close to that blast can result in injury — and no one wants that.
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1. Unexploded ordnance
This is pretty obvious, right? It's amazing what gets thrown into a burn pit.