By MC2 Sean Rinner
CONSTANTA, Romania — Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 8 participated in exercise Eurasian Partnership Mine Counter Measure (EP MCM) Dive 2020 in Constanta, Romania, August 3-6, 2020.
EP MCM Dive 2020 is a multinational maritime exercise, between the United States, Romania, and Bulgarian Naval forces, designed to improve operational and tactical interoperability among the participating units. Exercises like EP MCM happen annually, bringing the experiences of different international EODs to the field. During the three days, they were able to learn from past events, share the newest tactics and demonstrate the most up to date technology available.
During the exercise, service members from each unit had the opportunity to discuss procedures in mine detection and the safe retrieval and shoring of the mines. The participating countries also covered the different ways of disrupting and safely detonating explosives.
“This exercise was a great opportunity to practice common procedures,” said Cmdr. Mihai Iordache, executive officer, Explosive Ordinance Disposal Romania. “It also provided an opportunity to train to the current international context, such as asymmetric threats, that require appropriate responses in the maritime environment in order to render safe Maritime Improvised Explosive Devices.”
During the operation, EOD technicians from Romania and Bulgaria worked with U.S. technicians to test new mine detection equipment, use detonation devices that allowed for the technicians to safely deactivate and later study mines and improvised explosive devices. They met their ultimate goals of making safe ordinance, saving more lives in the future and improve tactics, techniques and procedures, while cultivating better cohesion between allied forces.
“Exercises like EP MCM allow us to improve our interoperability with key NATO partners on the Black Sea.” said an EOD technician first class. “During EPMCM, our team was able to use our advanced training and equipment to help teach EOD skills to our partners that proved valuable to all parties involved.”
Their goals for the next exercise include using a larger variation of explosives, increasing the amount of ordinance used and the use of different types of charges. During exercise, the partnering countries worked together through team integration, which combined individual experiences to create newer and more effective methods to complete the mission safely.
“The greatest takeaway from EPMCM was the relationships we built,” said, EODMU 8 platoon commander. “We do not have many engagements with our NATO partners in the Black Sea, so this exercise was valuable for all parties involved. Despite COVID-19 concerns, the Romanian Navy was able to safely execute the training objectives without jeopardizing training value,” said the platoon commander.
Navy Expeditionary Combat Force Europe-Africa/Task Force 68 is responsible for providing explosive ordnance disposal operations, naval construction, expeditionary security and theater security efforts to Naval Forces Europe-Africa and U.S. 6th Fleet.