News and Updates

Archived Articles

6 Units Shipped to Uganda Through SHDI

Now in its 8th year, the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative (SHDI) is still going strong! Another six demining locators were recently shipped to Uganda, bringing the worldwide total to 483. The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has assisted in getting the $1041 locators into the hands of UN-supported demining teams in 28 countries, among them Laos, Somalia, Kenya, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Nepal, Egypt, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Croatia, Chad, Azerbaijan, Gaza, Cambodia, Algeria, Lebanon, Libya, Uganda and the Darfur region of Sudan.


This video tells the story of an innovative humanitarian demining partnership involving the United Nations Mine Action Service, (UNMAS) Schonstedt Instrument Company, the US Department of State and the Society of Religious Friends (Quakers) who have raised funds for donating magnetic locators to mine action programmes around the world.

Produced by Richard Krantz (


View Map of SHDI Units Deployed to Date in a larger map

VIDEO: Schonstedt and UNMAS Demining Featured on FSNLive

Schonstedt Recognized in UNMAS Annual Report

The 2013 United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) report includes a special acknowledgement of Schonstedt's ongoing contribution to global demining efforts through the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative (SHDI), which is still going strong in its 7th year of operation.

Download full report in .pdf format here

Schonstedt Locators in Afghanistan

Demining technicians near Kabul using the Schonstedt 52Cx
Front page article in The Washington Post

By Kevin Sieff

KABUL — As the U.S. military withdraws from Afghanistan, it is leaving behind a deadly legacy: about 800 square miles of land littered with undetonated grenades, rockets and mortar shells.

The military has vacated scores of firing ranges pocked with the explosives. Dozens of children have been killed or wounded as they have stumbled upon the ordnance at the sites, which are often poorly marked. Casualties are likely to increase sharply; the U.S. military has removed the munitions from only 3 percent of the territory covered by its sprawling ranges, officials said.

Read full article here

Mali Demining Film Features Schonstedts

A short film by documentarian Marco Grob and narrated by Daniel Craig follows "Douglas", a UNMAS demining technician in Mali, who risks his life day in and day out in an effort to uncover and dispose of "the leftover detritus of war".

State Journal Feature Article on Schonstedt

The State Journal, West Virginia's Business Newspaper, recently published a feature about the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative (SHDI):

Small Kearneysville company recognized for big donations

Posted: Mar 07, 2014 2:59 PM EST
By Linda Harris, Legal Reporter

There are days when Bob Ebberson and his co-workers at Schonstedt Instrument Co. must feel a little like David battling Goliath.

Small by any standards — there are just 25 employees in the company — Kearneysville-based Schonstedt is trying to make the world just a little bit safer by donating hand-held magnetic locators to people in war-torn world communities to help them find underground mines and unexploded ordnance that could kill or maim unsuspecting children and adults as they walk, play or plow fields that look deceptively inviting.

But eight years and nearly 500 free magnetic locators later, they're learning an ugly truth: human nature being what it is, 500 isn't going to be nearly enough.

"It makes the employees here feel particularly good about what we do here every day," said Ebberson, who is director of Schonstedt's business development as well as its Humanitarian Demining Mission, which operates in partnership with the United Nations.
"Everything we manufacture here is all American-made and we're an employee-owned company," he said. "Everybody knows when they come to work in the morning they're literally helping save lives around the world."

HALO Trust Receives 12 Locators for use by MAPA

A HALO WAD operator uses a Schonstedt GA-72Cd Locator to pinpoint items buried in collapsed bunkers in Parwan Province
The legacy of thirty years of conflict has left communities in Afghanistan facing many problems. One of the great challenges the country faces is ridding itself of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and stray ammunition (SA) that lies hidden, scattered across the whole country. Many of these items have lain dormant for many years waiting to injure unsuspecting civilians who unearth them when tending to their land or used by insurgents to destabilize the country and work against the GoIRA and its people.

The donation of 12 x Schonstedt GA-72Cd magnetic locators has been greatly received by the Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan (MAPA). Schonstedt magnetic locators make up the back bone of the MAPA's UXO/SA search capabilities with this technology being used to locate items, which are then destroyed, including cluster munitions and large calibre UXO and SA. Each month over 80 tons of ammunition is destroyed across the MAPA and Schonstedt GA-72Cd Magnetic Locators play a major part in the location and destruction of these explosive items.

The HALO Trust on behalf of the MAPA implementing partners who are benefiting from this donation would like to thank the donors for their generous donation of these locators.

These achievements were made possible thanks to the partnership established between the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and Schonstedt.

$60 Gift Certificate Winners Announced

60 Winners of $60 Gift Certificates were drawn at random from more than 1100 entries in

Round #6, the Final Round, of the 2013 Great Locator Giveaway. See this list here

Chris Brown Wins Final Locator Giveaway!

Chris Brown, PLS, of Quantum Spatial in Portland Oregon was drawn as the Winner of the Great Locator Giveaway #6, the final Giveaway for 2013! Chris claimed a GA-92XTd magnetic locator as his prize.

But Wait, There's More: The Grand Prize Drawing! Chris Brown joins all other entrants in the 6 Locator Giveaways for the drawing of a 7-Day Cruise for Two. ANNOUNCEMENT COMING SOON ON THIS WEBSITE!

A second Schonstedt locator on display at UN Headquarters NYC

The Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative (SHDI) continues to support the United Nations Mine Action Service in its efforts to eradicate explosive remnants of war from countries around the world. In recognition, and in addition to a permanent display of a Schonstedt demining tool at the United Nations, a second unit is now featured in a recently opened exhibition in the Visitor's Center at UN Headquarters in New York.

Humanitarian Demining Video

United Nations Mine Action Service

This video tells the story of an innovative humanitarian demining partnership involving the United Nations Mine Action Service, Schonstedt Instrument Company, the US Department of State and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) who have raised funds for donating magnetic locators to mine action programmes around the world.

Produced by Richard Krantz

UNMAS report from Mali

The generous and timely donation by Schonstedt Instrument Company of 35 magnetic locators to the programme of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Mali is significantly enabling the survey of dangerous areas contaminated by Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and hence contributing to human security.

Indeed, armed conflict in Mali has created a problem of explosive contamination which is impacting the civilian population and stabilization efforts. This impact includes the potential loss of life and injury of people within affected communities but also the safe return of refugees and internally displaced people. Since March 2012, 80 civilian ERW casualties have been recorded in Mali, of which more than half are children. Explosive contamination is also adversely affecting livelihoods, freedom of movement and economic recovery, as well as the safe deployment of national and international forces and extension of state authority.

Download full report here (pdf file)

Humanitarian Demining Tools deployed to Mali

At the request of the United Nations, Schonstedt deployed 35 donated magnetic locators to UN-supported humanitarian demining teams operating in Mali. The requirement for mine clearance activity stemmed from recent conflicts in that country. The instruments were provided through the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative.

More on SHDI here.

ICRC Accepts Equipment Donation

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva, Switzerland recently thanked Schonstedt for the shipment of 30 donated magnetic locators through its Humanitarian Demining Initiative. The ICRC, one of the first organizations to provide post-conflict relief and assistance, will use the equipment to clear affected areas of explosive remnants of war such as grenades, mortars, cluster munitions, bombs and missiles, which will allow the return of civilians and the delivery of aid.
More on SHDI here.

Great Locator Giveaway Winner #2

Congratulations to Todd Chapman, PLS, Senior Surveyor for Caputo and Wick, Ltd in Rumford, RI, the winner of Round #2 of the 2013 Great Locator Giveaway. Todd was given his choice of any new Schonstedt magnetic locator and he selected the GA-72Cd. Writes Todd,
"I have always had great results with the Schonstedt Metal Locators I have used over the years."

Todd joins Round #1 Winner, Steve Brdaric of MetroTEST Energy Services in Kunkletown, PA, who also chose the GA-72Cd magnetic locator.
If you haven't yet entered Round #3 of the Great Locator Giveaway, enter now and also qualify for the GrandPrize Cruise!

Great Locator Giveaway Winner #1 !

Congratulations Steve Brdaric!

Steve Brdaric of MetroTEST Energy Services in Kunkletown, PA is the winner of Round #1 of the 2013 Great Locator Giveaway. Steve was given his choice of any new Schonstedt magnetic locator and he selected the GA-72Cd. The 60 Winners of the $60 Gift Certificates will be posted early next week!

Click here to enter GLG Round #2.

Schonstedt in December's Edition of The Edge

Schonstedt was featured in the December edition of the WV Dept. of Commerce business publication, "The Edge", with a focus on our Humanitarian Demining Initiative.

Here is a link to the online e-Magazine version of the publication

Corporate Responsibility Officers Association recognizes Schonstedt

The Corporate Responsibility Officers Association (CROA) has cited Schonstedt for its commitment to global humanitarian demining. CROA calls on individuals and companies to make commitments that will change the world.

Schonstedt is among nine companies that have responded
[Read More in this pdf]

Click here to see the Schonstedt commitment

Humanitarian Demining Article, Center for a Better Life

Mine clearance along a power line in Eastern Croatia. Photo Courtesy of the Croatian Mine Action Centre (CROMAC)
Humanitarian Demining

One Company's Program of Social Responsibility

By Bob Ebberson, Corporate Responsibility Officer and Director of Business Development, Schonstedt Instrument Company

Landmines, unexploded submunitions and explosive remnants of war (ERW) all pose a serious and ongoing threat to civilians. During and after conflicts, these weapons can be found on roads, footpaths, farmers’ fields, forests, deserts, along borders, in and surrounding houses and schools, and in other places where people carry out their daily activities. They can deny access to food, water and other basic needs, and inhibit freedom of movement, thus limiting people’s ability to participate in education or access medical care. Mine and ERW contamination may also prevent the repatriation of refugees and internally displaced people, as well as hampering the delivery of humanitarian aid. (Source: Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor:

Read Bob Ebberson's full article at Center for a Better Life

WV Export Council Honors Schonstedt

Journal photo by Michelle Horst

October 17, 2012

By Michelle Horst - Journal Staff Writer

KEARNEYSVILLE - Two Jefferson County businesses have expanded from West Virginia into the international market. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, the West Virginia Export Council and the West Virginia Development Office are recognizing this accomplishment.

Debra Martin, international trade manager of the West Virginia Development Office, presented Schonstedt Instrument Company of Kearneysville and STaSIS Engineering of Summit Point with the Governor's Commendation for International Market Entry on Monday afternoon.

"I think it's great when you think about a little company in West Virginia, we just have 26 employees here in Kearneysville, and we've shipped to 85 countries around the world. About 30 percent of our business comes from outside the United States," Mark Pugh, CEO of Schonstedt Instrument Company, said.

Read full article here

Croatian Demining Group Welcomes Schonstedt as Member

The Cluster for Humanitarian Demining, Ltd. (CHD) is based in Zagreb, Croatia, "founded with the aim to promote, lead and co-ordinate developmental activities in humanitarian demining abroad." At their August 22 meeting in Sisak the members unanimously voted to admit Schonstedt as an associate member, by virtue of their ongoing work in the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative (SHDI).

Schonstedt Scholarship Winners

Combat Engineer and Scholarship winner Kurt Rardin
Each year, through the National Society of Professional Surveyors Foundation, thousands of
dollars in scholarships funded by a variety of individuals, companies, and organizations are made available to encourage and support college education in geospatial sciences. The Schonstedt Scholarships in Surveying, in the amount of $1500, are awarded this year to:

Seth Weckman, Ely, Minnesota

Kurt Rardin, Deatsville, Alabama

In a letter to Schonstedt, Kurt Wardin writes: "I am no stranger to metal detectors, but in my world we called them Mine Detectors. I served 6 years in the US Marines as a Combat Engineer..."

Read all of Kurt's letter to Schonstedt here

GA-52Cx featured in successful Bulgaria cleanup

US Ambassador James Warlick (left) on the spot near the Chelopechene ammo depot blast. Photo by BGNES
News article courtesy of Sofia News Agency:

US Announces End of Blasted Bulgarian Ammo Depot Clean-up

US Ambassador to Bulgaria James Warlick has announced the successful clean-up completed with US funding of the Chelopechene munitions depot near Bulgaria's Sofia which exploded in July 2008.

Warlick, alongside Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Defense Valentin Radev, announced the successful conclusion of a massive .18 million effort funded by the United States to clean up unexploded ordnance (UXO) that infested the grounds and nearby water areas for several kilometers around the Chelopechene munitions depot following a 2008 explosion, the US Embassy in Sofia announced Wednesday in a statement.

The land the US helped to clean and the waters of the adjoining nature preserve, river, ponds, and reservoir are now restored to their original condition, the Embassy said.

Ambassador Warlick and Deputy Minister Radev toured the site on July 25, 2012, with the director of the Slovenian non-governmental organization ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF), Dorijan Marsic, and the president of Sterling International, William Wade, the American company which was sub-contracted to complete the sub surface clearance work.

Schonstedt Debuts on Mars!

Our GA-92XT in the American Museum of Natural History, NYC
The American Museum of Natural History, New York, ( has honored Schonstedt Instrument Company by including a GA-92XT magnetic locator in "Beyond Planet Earth - The Future of Space Exploration". The special Exhibition, which runs from November 2011 to August 2012, “transports visitors to the Moon, Mars, and beyond as it boldly explores humanity's next steps in space.”

In this scene, an astronaut studies the Martian geology, using tools that can detect minerals beneath the surface. Tools like the Schonstedt let scientists see through solid rock and identify underground minerals.

The Exhibition will travel next to Israel and then, who knows, maybe To Infinity and Beyond!
-Download article here.

36 Donated Demining Tools Bound for Libya

Munitions pile in Libya. United Nations Mine Action Service.
Schonstedt Instrument Company has shipped 36 donated magnetic locators to members of the Joint Mine Action Coordination Team - Libya (JMACT). The JMACT is a partnership of the United Nations and international NGOs, formed to present a coordinated mine action response to the explosive remnants of war (ERW) threat in that country.

Fighting in Libya since February 2011 has led to significant ERW contamination that threatens to increase the number of deaths and injuries of civilians and aid workers as well as jeopardize the delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid.

Along with its donors, Schonstedt is pleased to contribute to these efforts to clear the country of unexploded ordnance and abandoned ammunition.

See more of Italian photographer Giovanni Diffidenti's compelling images of mine action work in Libya and around the globe on FaceBook.

UN Initiative featured on WV Public Broadcasting

From the WVPubcast Website:

May 19, 2011 · An Eastern Panhandle Company product is now on display at the United Nations in New York City because the company has been providing the U.N. with metal detectors to locate land mines in war torn countries.

The United Nations is recognizing Schonstedt Instrument Company in Jefferson County for its efforts in Humanitarian Demining.

Bob Ebberson, Director of Business Development, said the company matches every donation it receives for a magnetic detector.

Then, the United Nations and State Department assist the company in sending the locators to countries in need. U.N. Humanitarian workers use them to locate bombs in former war zones.

Listen to interview and read full article here...

Download MP3 Interview

Locator Put on Permanent Display at UN

The Schonstedt GA-72Cd is the workhorse of United Nations humanitarian demining teams around the world. The tool was recently put on permanent display at UN Headquarters in New York, where some 1500 people per day tour the complex. Here a guide is explaining its function in eradicating the world of landmines.

Read more about worldwide demining issues at

Donate a Locator and Save a Life

The Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative is alive and well in this season of giving. Now, those who wish to contribute demining tools directly to United Nations Mine Action partners in the world's most devastated countries can do so. Businesses, individuals and nonprofit organizations such as church and school groups, trade associations and service clubs are invited to participate as follows:

* Purchase for donation any number of Schonstedt GA-72Cd magnetic locators at list price, currently $1041, and Schonstedt will match your donation unit for unit

* Schonstedt will ship the units directly to underserved countries according to UN priorities

* Donations are made in the name of the donor (group or individual)

Learn more and make a donation here.

Governor Commends Schonstedt

West Virginia Governor and Senator-elect Joe Manchin III issued commendation plaques to Schonstedt for its recent entry into three international markets. In 2010, Schonstedt marked its first sales to Portugal, Brazil and Turkmenistan. The company currently exports to over 80 countries.

Schonstedt Magnetic Locators available through GSA

The full line of Schonstedt magnetic locators is now available through GSA to qualified government purchasers.

Information on the demining tools can be found through GSAAdvantage! or at

Iraq Oil Industry Development Hampered by Land Mines

Reuters photo: Iraqi police scan for land mines near the Rumaila oil field in Basrah province. (Schonstedt GA-72Cd Magnetic Locator used by soldier at left)
Excerpt from Radio Free Europe Report:July 21, 2010

BAGHDAD -- Foreign oil companies that have signed contracts to develop Iraq's oil reserves may be unable to meet contractual deadlines due to the danger of land mines, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq reports. Muzahim Jihad, the head of an Iraqi NGO that clears minefields, described the land mine problem as catastrophic.

He said it could severely impact the Iraqi economy and he called on the Iraqi government and international organizations to help with the problem.

Muzahim Jihad also said the government did not pay much attention to the problem of land mines until after it signed contracts with foreign oil companies. He said these companies were now facing a huge challenge that could affect their efforts to develop oil fields in Iraq.

He estimated the number of mines in Iraq at 25 million, in addition to a vast quantity of unexploded bombs scattered over much of the country but especially in areas near oil fields.

GSA Purchasing

Schonstedt is now a GSA Contract Holder, making it easier than ever for the government and military to purchase the military version of the rugged GA-72Cd magnetic locator. At the request of the US Army, the GA-72Cd-ML has been adapted for use in military theaters of operation. Featuring a digital display as well as audio output, it is quickly becoming the standard for military munitions response and humanitarian demining.

Government buyers can purchase the GA-72Cd-ML at GSA Advantage

Schonstedt Scholarship makes a Difference

“I recently received the Schonstedt Scholarship through the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping and wanted to formally thank you for donating the funds for this scholarship. Scholarships like this are of great help when paying for tuition and expenses. I fund my own education so scholarships make it possible for me to attend school, and are greatly appreciated. I will continue to work hard as I have in the past to accomplish my goals of obtaining a degree in Surveying and Engineering from Michigan Tech, and enhancing the perception of the surveying profession and the American Congress of Surveying and Mapping.”

-- letter received from Brian Bellmore, student

Jim Hunt plays "Not So Silent Schonstedt"

Jim as Santa
Jim Hunt is an Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) technician from Summerville, SC. He works for Environment Remediation companies around the country, doing clearance reclamation of former military installations and bombing ranges.

He calls his Schonstedt locators his "work horses". That's not too unusual, but what IS unusual is the video clip he made of himself “playing” his GA-52Cx. Click here to see the video clip: Schonstedt Newsletter

Frank Lenik Receives Key Governor Award

Frank Lenik at the spring ACSM meeting in Salt Lake City
Schonstedt Instrument Company congratulates Frank Lenik, Professional Land Surveyor, on receiving the Key Governor Award from the Board of Governors, National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS).

According to Curt Sumner, Executive Director, "the Key Governor Award was developed specifically to recognize extraordinary effort by a Governor, which is clearly an honor, especially considering that it is bestowed by one's peers."

Patrick Smith, Chair of the Board of Governors, adds that “Frank Lenik's involvement in the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative made it readily apparent that surveyors can play an effective role in society that reaches far beyond the everyday practice of the profession and the professional licensing requirement that surveyors protect the health, safety and welfare of the public in their professional endeavors. It is through an extension of his efforts that the NSPS Governors realized they could promote this very worthwhile initiative in all 50 of their respective states and, as such, recognized Frank's humanitarian dedication by awarding him the honor of the Key Governor Award."

Schonstedt notes that Frank’s efforts have contributed to the deployment, at no cost, of over 300 magnetic locators to United Nations humanitarian demining teams in 19 of the world’s most mine-infested countries.

For more on Frank's efforts visit

Organization of American States (OAS) cites Schonstedt

Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of of the OAS, Washington, DC recently presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Schonstedt Instrument Company. The certificate, which reads "In recognition of the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative and its contribution to the OAS Mine Action Program", was in response to a donation of equipment for OAS humanitarian demining field tests in Columbia, South America.

GA-72Cd-ML on the NBC Nightly News

A still from the NBC News piece featuring the Schonstedt GA-72Cd-ML
The NBC Nightly News, in a piece titled "Iraqi troops prepare to stand alone" features troops using the new GA-72Cd-ML. Look for the Schonstedt locator in use in the first 40 seconds of the clip.

Click here to view the full clip.

Schonstedt Forms Munitions Response Group

The late Sgt Maj Mark Read, USMC (ret) and co-founder of EOD Technology, Inc. with Schonstedt instrument on the day Huntsville agreed that Schonstedt could be used for detection of subsurface UXO.
Schonstedt Instrument Company announces the formation of the Munitions Response Group.

The Group's function is two-fold:

  • To encourage and focus communication with users of Schonstedt demining tools

  • To foster collaboration with industry partners to advance UXO/IED detection capabilities

Visit the group's website at or email us at

Schonstedt On Display at the United Nations

The Schonstedt GA-72Cd on display in the Visitors Lobby, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
(From the United Nation's wall placard) "The Schonstedt Instrument Company of West Virginia approached DPKO in 2007 with the concept for a Humanitarian Demining Initiative linking the donation of a Schonstedt magnetic locator (such as the one here) for use in locating UXO to the sale of other Schonstedt products. That concept was expanded to individual donations with the direct purchase of locators for donation by a meeting of Quakers from southern New Jersey. Since its inception in 2007, the Initiative has donated over 250 locators in coordination with UNMAS on behalf of the UN Mine Action Team (UNMAT) to under-funded mine action programmes including Somalia, Nepal, Mauritania, Chad, Viet Nam, Laos, Tajikistan and Egypt."

Donated Mine Detectors Bound for Darfur

Donated Mine Detectors Bound for Darfur

A shipment of thirty mine detectors will soon be in the hands of United Nations humanitarian deminers in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The instruments have been donated by church groups, trade associations, individuals and customers of Schonstedt Instrument Company, which manufactures the demining tools and coordinates distribution to the world's most mine-infested countries.

Schonstedt matches each donated unit and ships them, according to UN priorities, to countries where humanitarian demining is most needed and where it would not otherwise be possible. There, demining teams find and clear explosive remnants of war such as cluster bombs, grenades, mortars, shells, landmines and other unexploded ordnance.

The shipment brings to over 250 the number of units, valued at $1041 each, currently at work in seventeen countries; among them Laos, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Nepal, Egypt, Croatia, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Chad and now Sudan.

Schonstedt Congratulates Chris Clark and South Lebanon Deminers

Schonstedt Instrument Company would like to congratulate Mr. Chris Clark and all the members of the UN Mine Action Programme in southern Lebanon on the announcement of the 2008 Nansen Award, the top distinction bestowed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for efforts to assist refugees. Mr. Clark and the programme were awarded the prize for their efforts to eliminate unexploded cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war after the 2006 conflict in Lebanon.

Schonstedt is proud that its magnetic locators served as an essential tool in the effort to locate and destroy unexploded cluster munitions and other devices to facilitate the safe and dignified return of refugees, pave the way for the delivery of humanitarian aid and ensure the safe deployment of peacekeepers.

The Mine Action Coordination Centre in southern Lebanon (MACC-SL) is managed by the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), with whom Schonstedt has collaborated over the last year to donate over 200 magnetic locators to chronically underfunded mine action programmes that do not receive the same attention and resources as that in Lebanon. Recipients to date have included Kenya, Somalia, Laos, Tajikistan, Nepal and Vietnam.

The donation of locators through the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative was originally linked to the purchase of Schonstedt pipe and cable locators, but was expanded to include private individuals and groups interested in contributing directly to humanitarian demining. For those interested in supporting the initiative, please visit or contact Bob Ebberson at or 304-724-4754.

View video

A Worthy Cause

This article appeared in the February 2008 issue of Professional Surveyor Magazine and is displayed with permission. Copyright 2008 by Reed Business Geo, Inc.

Frank Lenik, LS was the right man in the right place last March, when he spotted the Schonstedt Instrument Company booth at the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping conference in St. Louis, Missouri. A banner at the booth said, "Buy a locator, save a life," ...

Download Article in PDF format

Schonstedt becomes a 100% Employee-Owned Company

On January 1, 2008 Schonstedt Instrument Company became a 100% employee-owned company. The company's Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) provides an ownership interest for each of its employees. The transition ensures that the pride Schonstedt employees take in the quality instruments they produce will continue well into the future.

N.J. Quakers help save lives a world away

Frank Lenik with a metal detector that will be used to hunt mines.
The Philadelphia Inquirer

By Edward Colimore - Inquirer Staff Writer

Tajikistan, surrounded by snowcapped mountains, is still feeling the aftereffects of a civil war that killed more than 50,000 people a decade ago.

Trenches and earthen fortifications scar the high ground overlooking the Rasht Valley, and unexploded cluster bombs are claiming lives - often those of children who pick up the softball-size munitions.

Thousands of miles away, in Woodstown, Salem County, Frank Lenik, a Quaker and former Peace Corps volunteer, knew of the plight of the people there and wanted to help.

In his work as a surveyor, Lenik uses magnetic detectors similar to those utilized by United Nations contractors to locate and dispose of abandoned munitions.

So, when he saw the manufacturer of the devices offer a deal, Lenik went to members of his Woodstown Quaker meeting to raise money to purchase some.

Today, three detectors - two bought by the Quakers for about $1,500 and a third donated as part of a deal with the manufacturer - are being used under U.N. auspices in Tajikistan. And Lenik, his fellow Quakers, and others are raising money to buy more.

"From one small corner of New Jersey, we can reach around the world and send some good, positive energy," said Lenik, 48. "Fifteen hundred dollars is a small amount of money to do so much good."

U.N. officials say unexploded munitions are common in dozens of countries - wherever war has broken out, from Tajikistan and Somalia to Lebanon and Laos.

What's uncommon is getting equipment through private citizens to help dispose of them.

"I've never heard of a group doing this," said Richard Kollodge, a spokesman for the U.N. Mine Action Service, who took reporters to Tajikistan in June to acquaint them with the cluster-bomb problem.

"Countries acquire this equipment, but Tajikistan has a tight budget and can't afford them," Kollodge said. "This is a godsend."

The civil war in Tajikistan, a former republic of the Soviet Union, began in May 1992 when a disenfranchised group from the Gharm and Gorno-Badakhshan region rebelled against Tajikistan's national government and the old guard supported by Moscow. A peace accord was reached in 1997, but by then unexploded munitions had been strewn across the landscape.

Cluster bombs - canisters fired by artillery or dropped aerially - open in flight and can scatter hundreds of "bomblets." A three-day conference, which concluded yesterday in Vienna, sought to create an international treaty banning them by next year.

Lenik said he got the idea for purchasing the detectors while attending the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping in St. Louis in March.

At the trade show, he was drawn to the booth of Schonstedt Instrument Co. of Kearneysville, W. Va., which was promoting its new humanitarian demining initiative: Buy one of the company's pipe-and-cable locators, and Schonstedt would donate a magnetic detector to the U.N.

"I'm a Quaker, and we're a church that believes in living your faith," said Lenik, who attended the event as a delegate of the New Jersey Society of Professional Land Surveyors. "Every surveyor I know has one of these detectors. That's the thing that grabbed hold of me: This is something I use every day.

"I was aware of the munitions problem, but not aware that there was something I could do personally."

The detectors can locate steel and iron objects buried as deep as 10 feet. They normally are used to find surveyor's markers.

"I went back to my meeting, talked to the Friends, and created an information board to tell people about the detectors and what we wanted to do," Lenik said. "We have suppers and community dinners to raise money for charity, for good causes. . . . We're one of the peace churches. It's what we do."

Bob Ebberson, manager for the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative, said the Quakers did not need a pipe-and-cable locator and asked if they could simply buy the magnetic detector.

"We offered them a discounted price on two" - $750 each, Ebberson said. "And [we] provided a third for free," he said.

Schonstedt now kicks in an additional detector for every one purchased for donation at the list price of $1,015. The company and its customers have furnished 50 detectors to the U.N. demining operations.

The Quakers' three detectors were among 10 put to use in Tajikistan this year, the U.N. said. The others are being used in Laos and Somalia.

Justin Brady, planning officer for the U.N. Mine Action Service, said he hoped to have 10 more detectors donated through Schonstedt by the end of the year.

The equipment has been used to clear 200,000 cluster munitions left in Lebanon after the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, U.N. officials said.

The Quaker donations caught Brady by surprise.

"We hadn't expected this to happen," said Brady, who assembles teams of commercial contractors and government employees to search for the bomblets. "We want to try to open it up to private people and organizations to donate."

Lenik is all for that.

"We're one church in Woodstown, and Woodstown probably has more than a dozen churches," he said.

"Every town has churches. And if every church that could participated in a program like this, we could save a lot of lives and show people around the world that Americans are people of faith and have good hearts. . . . We're talking about children."

U.S. Department of State Lauds Schonstedt

The U.S. Department of State presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Schonstedt Instrument Company for "its valuable contributions in the effort to make the world free from the humanitarian impact of landmines and explosive remnants of war, in partnership with the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, so that innocent civilians may once again 'walk the earth in safety'."

The honor was awarded in commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the U.S. Department of States Public-Private Partnership Program to reinforce Humanitarian Mine Action.

Lao People's Democratic Republic accepts 15-Unit Donation

First Secretary Bounnhang Keosavang, Embassy of Laos, Washington, DC accepts a donation of 15 GA-72Cd magnetic locators from Michael B. Head, President, Schonstedt Instrument Company. The instruments will be used to find and clear cluster munitions in one of the world's most contaminated countries.

Also present for the occasion were Max Gaylard, Director, United Nations Mine Action Service, as well as dignitaries from the U.S. Department of State, the offices of U.S. Senators Byrd and Rockefeller, U.S. Representative Capito and West Virginia Governor Manchin.

The ceremony underscored Schonstedt's open-ended commitment of free tools for global humanitarian demining.

Schonstedt Teams with U.S. Department of State

Schonstedt Instrument Company recently teamed with the U.S. Department of State to provide demining tools to underserved areas of the world. The donated equipment is made possible by - and in the name of - Schonstedt customers, nonprofit organizations and individual donors.

United Nations humanitarian demining teams are currently using the donated equipment in Laos, Somalia, Kenya and Tajikistan. There, on a daily basis, they find and clear explosive remnants of war such as cluster bombs, grenades, mortars, shells and landmines.

Thanks from Tajikistan: Cluster Munitions in Gharm

This picture shows Schull mountain with the settlement nestling at its base. During the war, the mountains all along the Rasht Valley were cluster bombed with ShOAB and AO submunitions.

The aluminum alloy casing of a ShOAB is visible on the right, and the rusted steel of an AO on the left.

The town of Gharm in the Rasht Valley, central Tajikistan, is surrounded by steep hills and snow-capped mountains. During the civil war, some places on the high ground were defended with earthworks and trenches, the remains of which are still visible. These were mined defensively.

Reports suggest that the munitions were all dropped during a ten day period in 1993. Some intact cluster bombs struck the mountain and became trapped among outcrops. Others opened as designed, but the payload of submunitions landed on soft ground or snow and did not explode.

Four submunitions are visible among the rocks in this gulley.

With gravity, rain and snowmelt, these submunitions make their way into the gullies on the mountain side, and then move downhill towards the settlements. Every year there are accidents as they become visible and people mishandle them.

All too often it is local children who find them and are injured or killed.

Rapid Response Requirement


Donated GA-72Cd's in use in Tajikistan - BBC article

Top: Mine-clearing operations are tiny in comparison with the problem. Bottom: I want to become an eye doctor so that I can help others, and maybe cure myself too Samir, aged 10
Tackling Tajikistan's cluster bombs

By Natalia Antelava

BBC News, Rashd Valley, Tajikistan

High above the mulberry orchards and rolling hills of the Rashd Valley, and just beneath the soaring snow-covered peaks, lies the village of Chor Charokh.

Donkeys wander amid the mud huts, and women in traditional colourful headscarves shy away from visitors.

A group of small children, happily oblivious to the poverty that surrounds them, scream and laugh as they chase a dog along a stream.

None of these children were born when the government and the opposition fought for control of these mountains.

Yet, in a way, for these children the war is still on, a decade after the ceasefire.

Diligently, with his hands folded on his knees, 10-year-old Samir told us his story.

Two years ago, Samir went to cut wood in the forest and found a shiny metal ball. He had no idea, he said, that it was a cluster bomblet.

Samir only survived because he threw it a long way, but the blast shattered his knee and left him half blind.

Hundreds of others have not been so lucky.

Ten years since they were dropped, unexploded cluster munitions are still killing people here.

According to the UN, that makes Tajikistan a perfect example of why the weapon should be banned.

Lack of funds

International efforts to ban cluster bombs gained new force after last year's war between Israel and Hezbollah, when Israel dropped an estimated four million cluster bombs on southern Lebanon.

Cluster bombs are believed to be stockpiled by at least 75 countries around the world, including the US and Britain.

When dropped they disperse into hundreds of smaller bomblets, or sub-munitions - and that is what, according to the UN, makes them more dangerous and vicious than landmines.

"The worst thing is that you simply don't know where they are," said Andy Smith, who works for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and advises the Tajik government on mine clearance.

"At least with the landmines you can predict where they have been laid. But cluster sub-munitions spread over vast territories, and they continue to move around," he said.

"They can be shifted by snow, or roll down the hills, and unlike landmines they don't rust away but stay armed for decades."

The UNDP is among several international organisations that are trying to help Tajikistan rid itself of mines and cluster munitions.

But their effort is undermined by a lack of funds.

Working on one of the steep hills of the Rashd Valley, three men in blue uniforms are sweeping the area with bright yellow detectors - a miniscule operation considering the scale of the problem.

What makes clearance ever more difficult is that next year's snow melt is likely to send more bomblets down the hill and towards the villages.

"Yesterday we found seven sub-munitions at the bottom of just this one gulley; there are thousands of them here," Andy Smith said.

Life without work

The problem of unexploded munitions and landmines spreads far beyond the Rashd Valley.

Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan is full of landmines - a legacy of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

More recently another neighbour, Uzbekistan, mined its frontier with the country, saying it needed to prevent terrorists from crossing.

"We don't have a record of a single terrorist being hurt by mines there, but there certainly have been plenty of civilians," said Jonmahamad Rajabov, head of the Tajik Mine Action Cell, a government agency that deals with the issue.

Landmines and unexploded munitions have not only claimed hundreds of lives here, they have also destroyed thousands of livelihoods.

In a country where jobs are scarce, losing a leg or an arm means a lifetime of unemployment - and if the victim is a breadwinner, it means poverty for the entire family too.

When a cluster bomb exploded near his house, Saygufron Abdulhayrov lost both his arms. His cousin died in the blast.

Elsewhere, he might have considered himself lucky to have survived, but in Tajikistan his injury means he now faces a lifetime without work.

The help he gets from the government is enough to buy him 20 loaves of bread a month.

"What is there for me to do? I can never find a job, I can never own a shop or do anything with my life," Saygufron said.

But even those who are not injured or dead are still victims here.

About 93% of this country is mountainous, so every inch of flat land is precious.

In the countryside, where most people eat what they grow, mines and sub-munitions are halting agricultural development.

Their clearance, the government says, is essential for the economic revival that Tajikistan so desperately needs.
In the village of Chor Charokh, like so much of rural Tajikistan, there are hardly any men left.

Samir's father, like many others, has left to search for work in Russia. The 10-year-old, in the meantime, is making his own plans for the future.

"I want to become an eye doctor so that I can help others - and maybe," Samir added, "cure myself too".

It is not an impossible dream. Samir's vision could probably be restored, but his family does not have the money to take him to the city hospital.

Money is also needed to make this land safe to walk on and farm.

"We need more detectors, more assets, more men," the UN's Andy Smith explained.

"With the right investment we could make this country mine-safe in three years and mine-free in five. Without this investment, it could take another 100 years."

While Tajikistan desperately needs aid, the world, according to the UN, needs an international treaty banning cluster bombs, preventing this from happening elsewhere.

Video News: Child victims of dorment cluster bombs

Story from BBC NEWS

Schonstedt Responds to Urgent UXO Request from Tajikistan

The Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative, a program launched earlier in the year, has responded to an urgent request from the United Nations to provide five magnetic locators for removal of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Tajikistan.

The tools will be used to detect live but unexploded submunitions (cluster bombs) on mountainsides. Due to the spring snowmelt, the bomblets are rolling down the mountains and into the town below. The Chief Technical Advisor on-site will launch an effort to locate the remaining munitions before they, too, dislodge.

Schonstedt donated the units as part of its teaming effort with the United Nations to make demining tools available to underserved populations, for which UXO clearance would not otherwise be possible.

For a related BBC article, click here

Donated Locators Bound for Nairobi

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Daubney (center), Commandant, International Mine Action Training Center in Nairobi, Kenya accepts a magnetic locator from Bob Ebberson (left) of Schonstedt Instrument Company. The unit represents the first of hundreds the company e
Schonstedt Instrument Company and the United Nations Mine Action Team have identified the International Mine Action Training Center, Nairobi, Kenya as the first recipient of free demining equipment under the Schonstedt Humanitarian Demining Initiative.

Gung-ho gadgets for U.S. troops

The U.S. Army is playing up its ability to get high-tech tools to soldiers in the field more quickly and more affordably.

—Jonathan Skillings

Staff Writer, CNET

This isn't a gold-plated weapon. Rather, it's an $850 off-the-shelf magnetometer that troops are using to find weapons hidden in walls and under the ground. The civilian version of this metal detector is used to find buried power lines.
Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rather than weapons, the Army's Rapid Equipping Force is focusing on devices such as surveillance systems for searching out explosives, or handheld computers with voice recognition that carry a stockpile of phrases in Arabic. The goal isn't to devise the gadgets from scratch; instead, the unit looks for commercial products or items already in the production pipeline.

The use of off-the-shelf technology means that even with modifications for military use, the gear can get to soldiers much faster than it would through the traditional acquisition process, according to the head of the Rapid Equipping Force. The unit has about 20 people in Afghanistan and Iraq who work directly with soldiers and commanders to determine their requirements.

"What we don't want to do in my organization is develop (a tool) over a two- or three-year period and give it to the soldier three years from now," Col. Gregory Tubbs, director of the Rapid Equipping Force, said at a press briefing Friday, according to a transcript of the briefing. "If I'm looking for immediate warfighter needs, I want to help the soldier today."

The Army showed off some of the gadgets at the Pentagon press briefing.


testing testing testin

Main Switchboard: 1-800-999-8280 • 100 Edmond Road Kearneysville, WV 25430 • Email: © 2009 Schonstedt Instrument Co.