Navy EOD mission ready for Op SLIPPER

Published on USN and CPOCD Michael Barnes LTJG John Burkhart (author), CMDR Doug Griffiths (photographer)

Topic(s): Operation SLIPPER, Australian Clearance Diving Team FOUR

LEUT Wall and ABCD Wheeldon. (photo: CMDR Doug Griffiths)
LEUT Wall and ABCD Wheeldon.

Royal Australian Navy Clearance Divers from Team Four, were recently put through their paces during a complex Mission Readiness Evaluation (MRE), to prepare them for operational deployment.

The third rotation of a Task Group Explosive Ordnance Disposal (TGEOD) detachment were challenged by a series of realistic scenarios by Sea Training staff from the Australian Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Task Group.

Commander of the Australian Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Task Group, Commander Doug Griffiths, says while fictitious, the evaluation ensured the team were ready to respond to multiple incidents from asymmetric attack, if needed.

“Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are fast become the weapon of choice across many of the areas of operation that the Royal Australian Navy operates in. Having Clearance Divers trained in countering the threat, both above and below the water line, is a key defensive capability for a ship.”

LEUT Wall working on a suicide bomber.

LEUT Wall working on a suicide bomber.

To ensure a detachment is prepared, the TGEOD are put through a challenging evaluation, designed to stress the operational capability of the individual operators both above and below the water.

“Stretching to nearly 12 hrs, the assessment involved identifying and rendering safe unexploded ordnance (UXO) and IEDs and dealing with suicide bombers; all while providing Command with accurate and timely advice,” said CMDR Griffiths.

“The assessment was not designed to be easy. It stressed the professionalism and the skill sets of the whole detachment. The ability to make accurate and precise decisions is vital. There are no short cuts in EOD and an incorrect procedure can lead to complete mission failure.”

The detachment is now Mission Ready and ready to join the next ship deploying to on Operation SLIPPER.