LONG POND, Pa.- Two Soldiers assigned to the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) unit at Picatinny Arsenal, along with two others assigned to the installation's garrison, demonstrated the use of the Talon robot and a bomb disposal suit at the Pocono 500 NASCAR event, July 31 and Aug. 1.

The Soldiers set up a booth at the event attended by more than 100,000 racing fans.

Talon robots are powerful, durable, lightweight tracked vehicles used for explosive ordnance disposal and reconnaissance, and are designed to save the lives of servicemembers.

According to the manufacturer's Web site, "Talon EOD robots have been in continuous, active military service since 2000 when they were successfully used in Bosnia for the safe movement and disposal of live grenades. They were the only American-made robots successfully used at Ground Zero in search and recovery efforts after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center and the only robots to last through the entire mission without requiring a major repair."

By race time, the Talon robot had earned "VIP status" as it sat center stage in the raceway's black and white checkered winner's circle as the drivers' names were announced. With its prominent location, the Talon gained national television exposure.

An hour before drivers revved their engines, Picatinny and Garrison Command Sgt.Maj. Scott Koroll and Staff Sgt. Cash Burnett provided racing fans inside the raceway with a live demonstration of the robot's capabilities.

The demonstration was also featured on the raceway's Jumbotron.

Burnett was able to steer the robot and demonstrate its functionality with a portable operational system from about 20 yards away.

The Talon was able to snatch a small pocket-sized notebook out of the reporter's hand to the amazement of the crowd.

Lt. Gen. William N. Phillips, former Picatinny Arsenal commanding general and current Principle
Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, served as one of the race's grand marshals.

In that capacity, Phillips was charged with assisting in the swearing in of more than 100 future recruits in all branches of the Armed Services.

"I am humbled to be here and to represent the 1.1 million Soldiers in the Army today," said Phillips.

"I am a huge fan of racing. Kelly (Lt. Col. Kelly Laughlin, Phillip's aide) and I watched both events that we missed here at Pocono while we were deployed."

Before Phillips was assigned to his current position, he spent one year as the commander of the Joint Contracting Command, Multi-National Forces Iraq.

The Picatinny Soldiers at the event were able to view the race up close, meeting many of the stockcar drivers, including the Army car's driver, Ryan Newman.

Number 39, Newman placed 12th in the 200-lap race, earning his team its 10th top 15 finish of the season.

In a related development, the U.S. Army and Stewart-Haas Racing are asking Soldiers to submit their photos for a chance to be included in a special paint scheme for Newman's U.S. Army Chevrolet.

The car will be running in the Kobalt Tools 500 Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 14.

"Every time Ryan Newman drives the No. 39 Chevrolet with the Army colors, he represents the more than one million men and women who proudly serve our nation," said Col. Derik Crotts, Director of Strategic Communications, Marketing and Outreach, U.S. Army Accessions Command.

"For this race, with this paint scheme, we pay tribute to our heroes past and present and their families. Each picture, each face, is a reminder of the sacrifice and service of the millions who have made our Army strong and our nation free."

Page last updated Thu August 12th, 2010 at 12:57