Published: 09:50, 02 April 2003
A FORMER Kent lettuce picker is carrying out one of the most dangerous jobs in the Gulf -- defusing Saddam Hussein’s unexploded bombs.
Corporal Matt Parsons, who worked on farms in Dover and Folkestone before marrying his Sandwich sweetheart, Debbie, and joining up, now drives a Spartan tank.
Some of the Iraqi army missiles and bombs, many left over from the 1991 Gulf War, are so unstable he needs the heavy armour-plated vehicle to get anywhere near them.
He is based at a secret location in the desert in Kuwait where he is tasked with keeping the runways open for the British Harrier Force.
Cpl Parson said: “Before they established the base here there were dozens of unexploded ordnance and we had to deal with a number of them.
“The Americans are here also but we are the only three-man team from Britain tasked with not letting anything interfere with the aeroplanes taking off and landing."
Cpl Parsons' greatest fear is that one of the missiles is carrying a chemical warhead.
“We have had a large number of air raid warnings which are Code Red, which means we have to prepare for nuclear, chemical or biological attack.
“I work for the EOD which stands for Explosives Ordnance Disposal and it is a very dangerous job because if you get it wrong, you die.
“My job is to drive the tank and to go as close up to a weapon as possible and that weapon has been designed by a government who have fired it at us to kill us and want it to do as much damage as possible.
“We have to expect the unexpected every time we are called out. It is quite an adrenaline rush and, fingers crossed, we will all come home safe after this is over.
“I am looking forward to seeing my wife again and I’d like to say hello to her family in Sandwich.”