90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Beyond 'The Hurt Locker'

Actor Jeremy Renner in a scene from "The Hurt Locker," directed by Kathryn Bigelow, which won the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards on Sunday. (AP)

Six Academy Awards for “The Hurt Locker” Sunday night, including an Oscar for Best Picture. Then the cast and crew went off to party.

But the bomb-defusing work depicted so powerfully in the film never ends in Iraq and Afghanistan.

IEDs — “improvised explosive devices” — have been the number-one killer of American troops in both wars. They make every step a potential last step. They slow and enervate soldiers ready to charge and fight.

This hour, On Point: Beyond “The Hurt Locker” to the real battle against IEDs.

Guests:

Joining us from Fredricksburg, Va., is Kevin Lutz, retired Army Colonel who was the top officer overseeing the military’s EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) work in Iraq from 2006 to 2009. He led the 52nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group, members of which are portrayed in “The Hurt Locker,” and led Task Force Troy, fighting IEDs at the height of the Iraq War. He’s served three combat tours, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has been awarded two Bronze Stars. He’s now executive vice president of A-T Solutions, a company focusing on global counter-terrorism efforts.

You can read about what Lutz faced in Iraq in a series written by The Washington Post’s Rick Atkinson.

Also from Fredricksburg is Jonathan Hunter, retired Army Captain who served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in Afghanistan, primarily in the Khost and Kandahar areas. He served with Kevin Lutz in Afghanistan and now works for Allen Vanguard, the company that makes the bomb suits featured in “The Hurt Locker.” He works on anti-IED systems and briefs Congress on the latest technologies.

From Arlington, Va., is Command Sergeant Major Todd Burnett, the military’s senior enlisted advisor to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO). He is the recipient of the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Legion of Merit. He has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and has endured 44 IED attacks, 23 of which were direct hits.

More:

We’ve posted statistics on IEDs in Afghanistan from the Department of Defense.

A special thanks today to the EOD Memorial Foundation, which is dedicated to the memory of troops who have served in this line of work. Our gratitude to executive director Jim O’Neil.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

 
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: November 21, 2014
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We offer a panel of hand-drawn digital sheep, and wonder how to best lead the rest of you to programs that matter.

More »
2 Comments
 
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments