Welcome to the hurt locker: The improvised explosive device, or IED, has long been the weapon of choice for the insurgency in Iraq and now, increasingly, in Afghanistan. To take care of the threat, groups of elite explosives specialists, called Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams, are called in to dispose of, or safely detonate, IEDs. The Oscar-nominated film, The Hurt Locker, portrays one such team working in Baghdad. Critics say the film skews reality by depicting soldiers as thrill-seekers and rebellious and by portraying combat inaccurately. The following are a selection of photos from Iraq and Afghanistan of real explosive specialists -- and the very real explosives they work with. Above, an Iraqi soldier from a Bomb Disposal Company wears a protective bomb suit during an EOD demonstration on October 6, 2009, in northern Iraq.
Staff Sgt. Luke P. Thelen/Dvids Images