Everything you need to know about the Boston bomb squad's response to the marathon bombing

It's been six months since Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev allegedly detonated two homemade bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. A week of chaos, a manhunt and wild chase through Massachusetts, an evening standoff with police, an arrest, a kiss blown at a court appearance, and a Rolling Stone cover later, the American public is still absorbing details about the devastating events that played out back in April and the reach of their aftermath.

The Boston bomb squad knows this better than most. Living every day with the knowledge that bombs went off in their city, they're coping and adapting. On Friday, Wired published an exclusive feature that focuses on the Boston bomb squad from the preliminary sweeps that were completed before the gun went off at the start of the marathon to the evolution of the training program in wake of the attacks.

Writer Brian Castner—who touts extensive knowledge of the subject thanks to two deployments to Iraq and experience dismantling car bombs and investigating suicide attacks—walks you through the hazy, adrenaline-fueled moments after the April blasts and examines the entirety of the bomb squad's response since that first instant.

The gripping, emotional, and informative feature is probably the scariest and most humbling thing you'll read today.

“Well, now I know what I’m looking for,” he thought, and then took a breath to steel himself. “Mitch,” he told himself, “this is American history in the making, and you’re smack-dab in the middle of it. Now don’t f*** this up, ’cause you’d rather be dead than have another one of these go off.”

“If two, why not three?” Connolly thought as he tore into a bag. He avoided the zipper, which could be a trigger, and cut into the base of the pack as he’d been taught. Nothing. If three, why not four? He cut into the next backpack, nearly slipped on the blood-slicked sidewalk, and tore the bag in two. Nothing. There would be a third bomb for sure, he reasoned, to kill the cops and medics. He reached for another bag.

“I’m gonna f***ing die,” he thought. “One of these is gonna be real. But that’s OK. If it goes, it goes. That’s just the way it’s going to be today.”

Connolly cut through several more bags before he realized he couldn’t clear them all himself. He needed more techs. He tried his cell phone first but couldn’t get through. He reached for his handheld radio on his belt and pushed the transmit button.

“I need every available bomb tech at Boylston and Exeter. Boylston and Exeter. Now!” [Wired]