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    Multinational diving teams train during RIMPAC 2014

    EODMU 1 conduct night dive operations during RIMPAC 2014

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Joshua Scott | Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 1 conduct night...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet         

    By Ensign Lindsay Lewis, USS Anchorage (LPD 23)

    USS ANCHORAGE, At Sea - The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23) is serving as the afloat sea base for military divers from international partner nations performing mine countermeasures (MCM) during the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014.

    Sailors from the U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Chilean Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, British Royal Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, and Royal New Zealand Navy are conducting MCM operations involving airborne mine countermeasures, mine reacquisition, underwater vehicles, and marine mammals.

    "RIMPAC 14 is a unique opportunity for multiple MCM assets from several countries to all come together to jointly tackle a difficult task: finding mines and ensuring safe access for friendly forces. We find mines by deploying various autonomous underwater vehicles [AUVs] or other systems. Divers then reacquire these mines and have the ability to neutralize them in order to enable access to key areas," said Lt. Cmdr. Erich Frandrap, executive officer of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11.

    Junior members of the Australian autonomous underwater vehicle element (AUV-E) appreciated the opportunity to train alongside personnel from seven different countries.

    "I'm new to the AUV-E, so I was very fortunate to post in and head straight over to San Diego for the exercise," said Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator-Mine Warfare Troy O'hara, who joined the team earlier this year. "I'll be able to learn basically everything I need to know about the operation and programming of the REMUS [remote environmental monitoring units] sonar system before I get back home."

    REMUS is a type of AUV that can travel underwater without input from an operator.

    RNLN Lt. Max Borsboom leads Specialist Diving Team One, which includes a very shallow water (VSW) team operating aboard Anchorage during RIMPAC. The VSW team comprises a senior diving supervisor/REMUS operator, a junior diving supervisor/REMUS operator, and four enlisted divers.

    "There are a few reasons for this exercise" said Borsboom. "One is to network with other countries to compare your standard operating procedures [SOPs] with other countries. Maybe you need to fine-tune your own SOPs. Exercises like this are because [other countries] have other equipment, and you can borrow it and test it and maybe make recommendations back home."

    Borsboom also speaks about the training his team is receiving while participating in RIMPAC off the coast of San Diego.

    "The other advantage for us to be here is to get more experience, and the environment is good to train VSW. In the Netherlands, there is always ocean current, so you have to stick to small windows where you can dive because otherwise the current is too strong," he said. "Also, the underwater visibility is good. In the Netherlands, you don't see anything because of the current. The sand is blown up all the time, especially near the base. It's like diving in the dark; you can't see anything."

    While RIMPAC provides a great opportunity for divers all over the world to receive training, they also get the chance to build friendships and connections with military personnel from other countries.

    "I am on the berthing with the Chileans, and the oldest officer speaks English but the youngest primarily speaks Spanish, so we have the chance to exchange some Spanish, Dutch, and English words. It's always fun to be in a berthing with strangers, and now we are treating each other like friends. I will keep in touch with these people because I might want to plan an exercise with other countries. You have to build a network; that's one of the things we do as officers in command," Borsboom said.

    Twenty-two nations, 49 ships and six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to Aug. 1 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. 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 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

    For more news from Rim of the Pacific, visit

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    Date Taken: 07.23.2014
    Date Posted: 07.23.2014 21:38
    Story ID: 137069

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