Photo Information

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq - Cpl. Jonathan Hiltz, Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical threat specialist noncommissioned officer for Regimental Combat Team-8, instructs 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment personnel on the EVD-3000. The 21-year-old McAllen, Texas native showcased the handheld explosives detecting device to personnel who will soon use it to search vehicles and personnel entering Fallujah for explosive materials.

Photo by Cpl Mike Escobar

McAllen Marine teaches troops new tricks to counter insurgency

27 Jun 2005 | Cpl. Mike Escobar

Marines with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment will soon be armed with a new weapon to wield in their ongoing fight against insurgents throughout Fallujah.

As this battle rages on, one McAllen, Texas native is doing his part to train fellow Marines on a new system the Corps is implementing in hopes of rooting out terrorists.

On June 27, Cpl. Jonathan Hiltz showcased the EVD-3000 explosive detector to several of the battalion’s personnel.  The Nuclear, Biological and Chemical defense noncommissioned officer with Regimental Combat Team-8 described this system as a lightweight, handheld, rapid-response detector that indicates the presence of most explosives.

“The EVD-3000 can sample air in the vicinity of suspected explosives, as well as particulate samples,” the 2002 McAllen Memorial High School graduate explained, as he read a slideshow presentation to the Marines here.  “It takes about 10 seconds to register a particle sample, and 5 to15 seconds for a vapor sample.  The EVD-3000 can run for about two to three hours on battery power.”

To employ this system, Hiltz continued, troops can utilize EVD-3000 in two modes: vapor and particulate.  While using it on vapor mode, the Marine uses the machine’s front vapor inlet nozzle to draw a sample of air.  This air is sent into the 3000’s vapor collection tube, where the molecules are tested for the presence of explosives.

In particulate mode, users take a physical sample rubbed off of a surface and place it on a screen.  Once there, the sample is placed in an inlet on the EVD-3000, where a pump transports it into a particle collector tube for testing.

Hiltz said that while analyzing both vapors and solids, the samples are rapidly heated to turn the trapped molecules into a gas.  These gases are drawn to a detector, and a signal is generated.  The signal is sent to the machine’s microprocessor to determine its strength.  EVD-3000 produces a loud beeping alarm to alert the user of an explosive’s presence.

The Marine Corps is distributing this system to various units throughout Iraq’s Al Anbar province in hopes of augmenting the troops’ ability to search for munitions.

Already, troops manning personnel and vehicle entry control point stations utilize military bomb-sniffing working dogs, or K-9s, to accomplish this.  EVD-3000 is intended to augment the Marines’ abilities to search for materials insurgents could use to manufacture roadside and vehicle car bombs.

However, the EVD-3000 is not without its limitations.  Each kit costs approximately $12,000, and Iraq’s dust-filled climate makes it sometimes impractical to implement, as the dirt in the air and on surfaces can interfere with the detector’s readings.  For this reason, Hiltz recommended that Marines using this system wipe dust off of areas they plan to search beforehand.

“I’m sure it will work well in certain environments,” Hiltz stated.  “In this environment, it just has to be used properly.”

Marines with the battalion will soon receive these tools to aid them in their ongoing fight against terrorism in Iraq.