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NEWS | June 30, 2021

U.S. Navy Divers Participate in Mine Clearance Exercises with Croatia

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Delaney Jensen

U.S. Navy Sailors  from Explosive Ordnance Disposal  Mobile Units (EODMU) 8 and 6 conducted a Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA) certification event with the Croatian Mine Clearance Diving Platoon in Karlovak, Croatia, June 7 to June 25, 2021.

 The event covered a vast array of EOD skills including demolition procedures, safe handling of explosives, ordnance recognition, demolition site management, operational risk management and the criteria used to safely identify and dispose of conventional unexploded ordnance.

“Our team is excited to work alongside the Croatian Navy EOD personnel to share skills in basic demolition and unexploded ordnance disposal technique,” said Lt. Emma Ferris, officer in charge, EODMU 6, Platoon 621. “It’s been really awesome working with the Croatians. They are eager to share best practices, super welcoming, and they have really made it a joy to work with them. I’m excited about the progress we’ve all made in interoperability, and I’m excited to see what kind of progress we make during subsequent events, especially as we get to train in underwater disposal.”

Since the first HMA certification in 2018, Croatian Navy senior leadership has shown an increased level of support for their EOD Platoon and have aggressively pursued the highest levels of EOD Certification in order to better rid the country of any unexploded ordnance hazards they encounter.

“The demo is always fun – getting out, blowing stuff up, seeing the live ordnance they are able to bring, but a lot of us get a lot of personal satisfaction out of working with our partners and knowing how valuable these exchanges are to all of us collectively,” said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Senior Chief John Christmas, leading chief petty officer, EODMU 8.

According to Christmas, emphasizing EOD operations and interoperability is paramount for Croatia due to the amount of undetonated historical ordnance they encounter and U.S. Navy personnel are providing the Croatian Navy with the relevant HMA certifications needed to stay ready and able in defense capabilities while also furthering U.S. partnerships.

The U.S. Navy routinely engages in complex military interoperability events and exercises to ensure they are prepared to fight alongside our NATO Allies and partners.

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. Sixth Fleet.

U.S. Sixth Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests, and promote security and stability in Europe and Africa.