EOD Unit Fosters International Partnerships

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM -- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 11 Sailors are participating in joint training operations July 16-22 with Australian, Canadian, and Russian explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) units during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012.

Training activities for the EOD members during the month-long RIMPAC include shooting drills, fast roping, simulated underwater demolition, and improvised explosive device (IED) disposal.

Lt. Eric Bond, an EODMU 11 battle watch captain, said the exercise was an excellent opportunity to strengthen ties with participating countries, and to share methods and training, and that RIMPAC is not as much about the exercise scenarios as it is about bringing together military members from other countries, and getting to know them.

"If we go to, or run, operations in Australia or Canada, we know exactly what these guys can do," said Bond. "We know their capabilities and we can seamlessly integrate."

During the first week, small familiarization operations were conducted "to assess each others capabilities and TTP's (tactics, training and procedures) to make sure we're all playing the same game," said Bond.

While Sailors from EODMU 11 and participating nations share similar missions, there are some differences between the explosive ordnance disposal units and the types of missions each performs. These differences include equipment, techniques, logistics, and locations for IED and ordnance disposal.

"Other units are a little more hands on than we are," said Bond. "We try to do everything as remotely as we possibly can, with the use of robots and pull lines. They have interesting ways of dealing with things remotely without the tools we use. It's a lot of fun to see."

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 2nd Class Stephan Blanz, a member of EODMU 11, said the tactical differences between the militaries were a catalyst for promoting knowledge sharing.

"During a shooting evolution we ran drills with Canadian and Australian personnel demonstrating tactics such as barricaded shooting, how to scope around cover and how to take accurate shots while exposing as little of yourself as possible," said Blanz.

In addition to knowledge sharing, Able Seaman Clearance Diver Kevin McEwan, assigned to Australian Navy Clearance Diving Team Four, said he formed lasting friendships with the other divers during the exercises.

"When you work with other (foreign) operators you also become mates and you never know, some day you might be somewhere like Afghanistan and you'll have an idea of how they get things done," said McEwan.

The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971.

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