Australian EOD teams train in terrestrial environment

This article has photo gallery Published on LCDR Darren Mallett (author), LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (photographer)

Location(s): Honolulu, Hawaii

Topic(s): Exercise RIMPAC

Multinational Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) force protection training during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii. (photo: LSIS Lee-Anne Mack)
Multinational Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) force protection training during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii.

Royal Australian Navy Clearance Divers specialising in Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) have trained alongside their participating nation counterparts at a specialised facility in Hawaii as part of Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016.

The EOD specialists joined with United States EOD technicians to ‘clear’ a compound which had notionally been sewn with Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). 

Able Seaman Clearance Diver Joshua Muscat said the scenario his team had been set was realistic and challenging.

“We were directed to conduct an occupied building search, so that involved going through every structure looking for anything out of the ordinary,” he said.

“That includes disturbed earth or any signs that something did not look right, considering people were supposed to the living there.”

Once the EOD specialists identified suspicious items or found IEDs, it was their job to render those items safe.

The teams all agreed that the training was realistic, putting pressure on everyone to perform in accordance with their training.

The facility at Marine Training Ground Bellows was assessed by most of the teams as the best they had seen. 

“It far exceeds anything I have worked on before,” said Petty Officer Clearance Diver Travers Smith.

“To have the chance here at RIMPAC to work with multiple nations, share our techniques and use realistic training areas is extremely valuable.”

RIMPAC16 is a biennial multinational exercise involving Pacific Nations and is being conducted from 29 Jun – 4 Aug 2016 in Hawaii and its maritime surrounds with an element operating in the Southern California Naval Training Area.

Exercise RIMPAC is the world’s largest maritime exercise enhancing Australia’s relationship with the host nation the United States and contributing nations. It is aimed at strengthening international maritime partnerships, enhance interoperability and improve the readiness of participating forces for a wide range of potential operations.