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    Dive Deep: U.S., Philippines make history in the Pacific Ocean during ACDC

    ACDC: EOD Underwater UXO Demolitions

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Dana Beesley | Explosive ordnance disposal technicians with the Philippine Marine Corps, Philippine...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Dana Beesley   

    13th Marine Expeditionary Unit   

    20 miles off the coast of Manila, Philippines, lies a small, rocky bluff that divides the entrance to the city’s bay into two channels. The island of Caballo, which translates to “Horse Island” in Spanish, was once a defense fortification post prior to World War II, before heavy bombardment left it diminished as a relic known only to history. Today, Caballo is off limits to visitors, save for a small detachment of Philippine Navy Sailors and the remains of batteries and structures peppering the wharf. 2024 opened a new chapter in the history of Caballo, continuing the partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, and Armed Forces of the Philippines.

    A Littoral Explosive Ordnance Neutralization integrated product team from 1st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force, alongside their Filipino counterparts conducted controlled underwater demolitions using handmade buoyant demolition cord reels, fittingly coined “dog bones,” tied to unexploded torpedo warheads.

    Originally manufactured in 1957, the warheads remained on the island for almost 70 years. During Exercise Balikatan 2023 in the Philippines, units planned to utilize the warheads to conduct bi-lateral disposal training in the upcoming year.

    The island of Caballo lacked the required infrastructure to dispose of the warheads, highlighting the need for an underwater demolition to protect personnel and the integrity of the land, and a concerted effort to bring the vision to life. Over the next year, U.S. and Philippine EOD teams planned to execute the disposal during planning conferences for Balikatan, Archipelagic Coastal Defense Continuum, and Marine Aviation Support Activity in the summer of 2024.

    For U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jason Holl, command diving officer with 1st EOD Company, one of the biggest benefits of training alongside Filipino counterparts was learning from their familiarity with the terrain and expertise in conditions that the U.S. lacked recent experience with.

    “They live and work in a challenging environment; with training, ingenuity, and a solid knowledge base they are able to execute the most challenging aspects of the EOD mission set safely and efficiently,” Holl said.

    The joint exercises between the U.S. and Philippine Marine Corps offer more than just a snapshot of current cooperation; they provide a roadmap for future collaborative efforts. By leveraging shared expertise and resources, the U.S. and Philippine Marine Corps are better equipped to navigate the challenges ahead and foster stability and security in the region for years to come.

    “The biggest goal of this training is to have mutual understanding in the operations of EOD; we enhanced each other through training with different approaches for the same result,” said Philippine Navy Cmdr. Sam Servano, commanding officer of Naval EOD Group, Philippine Navy Special Operations Command. “Both units familiarize themselves with the techniques, tactics, and procedures, thus the level of professionalism was also standardized.”

    The training provided an unprecedented opportunity to exchange elite knowledge across a variety of skill sets, and in turn challenge both nations to translate skills on shore to those in the open ocean.

    “The real benefit was seeing the Marines progress their skills and knowledge related to the mission set and creating new and unique TTPs in an operationally relevant environment,” said Holl.



    Date Taken: 05.16.2024
    Date Posted: 05.22.2024 22:25
    Story ID: 472062
    Location: CABALLO ISLAND, PH

    Web Views: 326
    Downloads: 0