In October 2002, Cocks was on the island of Bali, Indonesia, on a break from his peacekeeping duty in East Timor. One night, as Cocks and some friends left a nightclub and headed to a nearby cafe to check their e-mail, Cocks heard a loud noise coming from behind him. He turned around and saw a van full of explosives go off right in front of the club he'd just left. Despite being covered in glass and injured (he was only 50 yards from the explosion, wearing shorts and flip-flops), Cocks got up and ran inside what was left of the club to help other people.
Most of whom were busy taking blurry cellphone pictures of the tragedy.
Rather than staying the hell away from anything involving bombs from then on out, which is what anyone who isn't a freaking action hero would do, Cocks actually signed up to deal with them on a daily basis. After wrapping up his tour in East Timor, he toyed with the idea of becoming a lawyer but decided that disabling landmines in Iraq sounded much more badass. And so, less than a year after the Bali incident, Cocks would find himself standing a few yards from yet another giant explosion -- not while dealing with landmines, but just sitting in a perfectly safe office.
In August 2003, Cocks was sitting at his desk at the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, then got up and went to the other room for a second (maybe he had to reset his router). Moments later, this happened:
The router never stood a chance.