Staff Sgt. Christopher Fessenden is alive right now thanks to a toy truck. Seriously. The toy truck was always sent ahead of him in Afghanistan to look for roadside bombs. Last week, it ran into a tripwire and exploded.
Fessenden and five other soldiers used the toy truck, a Traxxis Stampede re-painted in desert camo, to sniff off bombs ahead of him. The truck, which was gifted to Fessenden by his brother, had a wireless video camera attached to it so the soldiers can see the possible dangers ahead of them. It's amazing, Fessenden said the little truck had helped find four IEDs before meeting its maker when it ran into a tripwire tied to 500lbs of explosives. Thankfully, it was just the truck.
In an e-mail to his brother, Staff Sgt. Fessenden says:
"We do mounted patrols, in trucks, and dismounted by foot. The funny thing is the Traxxis does faster speeds than the trucks we are operating in under the governing speed limit... so the Traxxis actually keeps up with us and is able to advance past us and give us eyes on target before we get there. Is it a toy? Yeah it is...is it fun... absolutely... but the guys here take the truck very seriously when out on [a] mission."
Knowing that the truck is saving lives, Fessenden's brother and a local shop owner are sending another one to him with the hopes of sending more to other soldiers. Watch the news report at ABC. [ABC News]