International EOD Teams Work Together for International Mine Countermeasure Exercise

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. CTG 56.1 Operations/ International Mine Countermeasure exercise

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.”

 International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX)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.

Eager Lion 13 — Flexible Amphibious Forces in Jordan

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Amphibious Forces fill a variety of missions. A mobile, at-sea medical facility, a temporary afloat staging base for port clearance or explosive ordnance disposal operations, and vehicles for support and delivery of Marines; Amphibious ships are capable of all of these and with the embarked teams, they are a formidable, flexible force capable of robust military operations as well as humanitarian ones.

5th Fleet’s amphibious forces, Expeditionary Strike Group 5, recently began exercise Eager Lion in Jordan and here to talk about the forces involved and the importance of the exercise is Rear Adm. William K. Lescher, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 5. Lescher’s comments are also featured on NavyLive Blog.

-Fleet LT

130609-N-AD372-250Our Navy-Marine Corps team launched participation in the annual U.S. Central Command exercise Eager Lion this week, during which we’ll be executing training events from multiple locations in Jordan and its littorals over the period June 9-20.

Expeditionary Strike Group 5, serving as the maritime component commander, brings the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group; USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), USS San Antonio (LPD 17) and USS Carter Hall (LSD 50); the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), USS Stockdale (DDG-106), an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team and U.S. Coast Guard Advanced Interdiction Team (AIT) to the effort. This naval force is part of 19 total nations and more than 8,000 participants in Jordan working toward the shared goal of strengthening regional security and stability.

130607-N-AD372-166The amphibious ships and MEU are impressively demonstrating the power of an integrated naval force – the Navy-Marine Corps team – in conducting a complex and rapid build-up of force ashore, followed by fast-paced and closely integrated live fire training with our Jordanian Armed Forces partners. 26th MEU Marines are leaning forward and eager to work closely with their Jordanian counterparts to strengthen interoperability, proficiency and friendships. Events include field training, multiple live-fire exercises, reconnaissance training and a broad scope of integrated aviation evolutions involving Harriers, Cobras and Ospreys.

USS Stockdale, the EOD and AIT teams are similarly active, conducting visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercises; explosive ordnance disposal drills; at-sea formation drills; and search and rescue exercises with the Royal Jordanian Navy.

130607-N-WX580-070Overall, the exercise is superbly demonstrating the capability of our integrated naval team to provide fast, forward and flexible combat power supporting the core U.S. Central Command missions of strengthening regional security and stability, and building multinational partnerships.

–Rear Adm. William K. Lescher, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group FIVE