Next time you send a present to soldier friends in the Middle East, send an RC car. That's what Ernie Fessenden did for his brother Staff Sgt. Christopher Fessenden, and with a (frickin' cool) camera mounted on it. Then Chris hooked up his rifle monitor to the camera and use it to scout for bombs.
Then, last week, a friend borrowed the toy and according to the soldiers, it tripped a wire which exploded about 500 lbs. of explosives out in the desert. Those soldiers would have otherwise tripped the wire from their Humvee. In effect, Maximum Destruction (the name of the specific RC car) had a blast, and possibly saved those six soldier's lives.
The sad part of the story is that IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are everywhere in Afganistan, and hundreds of soldiers die each year from these bombs. The military hasn't found a good solution to the problem as of yet, but the Fessendens have. Sgt. Chris, in correspondence with his brother Ernie, said he's found four IEDs thanks to the toy. Ernie's sending another one over, which costs about $500 for the car and mounted camera, and has started a nonprofit Fuel My Brain. There is no better way to support our troops than sending toy monster trucks to soldiers to help find bombs.