Greetings, Readers! For the past two weeks in Aqaba, Jordan, the members of Combined Task Group-522.3 have been working hard, and are now looking to close-out International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) with a bang. Clearance Divers from the British Royal Navy’s Fleet Diving Unit 3, United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians from Platoon 341 assigned to Carrier Strike Group 1, and members of the Jordanian Royal Naval Force have been working together to refine their collective and respective mine countermeasure (MSM) operations.
In the joint environment of IMCMEX, the teams have been utilizing shared ideas provided by mine specialists, diving teams of EOD experts, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), and a wide range of other tools in order to enhance and improve MCM techniques. These exercises also serve to strengthen the bonds between the U.S., U.K., and Jordanian forces.
“IMCMEX is important to reinforce relationships with allies in the Middle East to prove our combined resolve to work together efficiently and effectively to create maritime security,” said Commander Chris O’Flaherty of the British Royal Navy, commander of Task Group 522.3. “A force is always more effective when everyone pulls in the same direction. This exercise has proved that divers from many nations share [information on] interoperability, equipment and procedures to create a significant coalition ability to deliver maritime security.”
Not only has IMCMEX provided an excellent training opportunity, but fortunately for CTG-522.3, that training has been conducted in picturesque Aqaba. “The best part of the exercise has been being able to dive in the Gulf of Aqaba,” says Michael Brown, a clearance diver from the British Royal Navy’s Fleet Diving Unit 3.
“This is some of the clearest water we’ve ever had a chance to dive in, and that always makes our job more enjoyable.”
This year, IMCMEX includes a quarter of the world’s navies participating including 6,500 Sailors from every region. It is the largest international naval exercise promoting maritime security and the free-flow of trade through MCM, maritime security operations, and maritime infrastructure protection in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility and throughout the world.