KADENA AIR BASE, Japan – Standing in the middle of an Iraqi street in his bomb suit with his security detail at his side, Sergeant Beebe gazed at the crowd amassing near the buildings. But as he turned his focus from the people, he noticed a clicking and buzzing sound that began to grow louder.
Though the robot didn’t find any improvised explosive devices on its initial search of the area, and the detail thought it was just a bug buzzing nearby, the technician knew something just wasn’t right.
After little hesitation, they began sprinting back toward the convoy, alerting the bomb team who decided to send the robot back down-range to find what had spooked them.
As the robot reached the spot where the men were standing just seconds earlier, an explosion ripped the 400-pound machine to pieces.
That moment during his 2005 deployment will be forever etched into the mind of Master Sgt. John Beebe, now Kadena’s 18th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal superintendent.
And after recently receiving his third Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in Afghanistan earlier this year, the now 20-year Marine Corps and Air Force veteran looked back on the hard deployments, friends lost, the good times, and the more than 40 countries visited.