Nightly News   |  February 23, 2010

Defusing tension, and bombs, in Marjah

Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Garza, a bomb disposal expert, negotiates the thin line between life and death in southern Afghanistan. NBC's Sebastian Rich reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we are back. we have a very intense look tonight at the ground fight going on in afghanistan, at u.s. marines advance through the town of marjah. what you are about to see is the work of cameraman sebastian rich, a combat veteran, no stranger to covering warfare up close. he is embedded with the marines for nbc news. we asked him to naturate on tape way saw as the marines he was with made a sudden and potentially catastrophic discovery.

>> reporter: during a lull in the fighting in marjah, u.s. marines meet with afghan civilians and try to convince them it's safe to return to the central market .

>> it's important folks don't come here and stay in their homes and stay hungry .

>> reporter: afghans are uneasy. one of the issues is daily mourning.

>> bomb, idea.

>> reporter: it's on a roof. they take a closer look and find a pressure switch and another one hidden behind it to detonate the bomb if someone tries to defuse it. he works meticulously. this is a bomb with a huge kill radius.

>> it's an explosive bomb with fragmentation. anyone within the vicinity would be killed.

>> reporter: slowly and very carefully, he makes it safe.

>> the switch has been removed, so pretty much it's just a jug filled with homemade explosives.

>> reporter: did you choose to do this?

>> i did.

>> reporter: you chose to do this?

>> i did.

>> reporter: why?

>> it's worth saving somebody else's life, that's what i get from it.

>> reporter: he lowers the bomb from the roof and inspects it one last time.

>> very thin case, but very effective for blasts, secondary fragmentation. very dangerous. to say the least.

>> reporter: give me a sense of what you feel when you do this incredible job.

>> clarity. interesting enough, it's absolute clarity.

>> reporter: the bomb now harmless without its detonator is taken to a hole and blown up. that truly was an enormous blast. if that had gone off when the colonel was meeting with the elders, all of us would have been dead now. a close call for the marines of alpha 16 company, negotiating every day the thin line between life and death in marjah. sebastian rich, nbc news, marjah, afghanistan.

>>> we'll take a break here.