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Gulf of Mexico Exercise (GOMEX)

Gulf of Mexico Exercises (GOMEX) are scheduled quarterly for those mine countermeasures units that have completed the basic training phase. The GOMEX is conducted as a part of the advanced phase and brings air, surface, and underwater MCM units together to focus on integrated MCM operations in preparation for participation with the battle group in major fleet exercises involving complex mine countermeasures operations. MCM Squadron Commanders tailor the intermediate and advanced phases to the forces involved and will consider the types of scenarios to be encountered in upcoming major fleet exercises and deployments.

GOMEX marks the transition of a mine warfare readiness group from training to ready-to-deploy status and includes integrated surface, air and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) mine countermeasures (MCM) operations. The exercise are conducted in the Gulf of Mexico, Naval Station Ingleside, Texas, and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas.

COMINEWARCOM, MCMRON TWO, and Coastal Systems Station (CSS) Panama City, FL, demonstrated during GOMEX 1-97 and Blue Harrier 97, the feasibility of providing real-time tactical and technical support to the operating Fleet. This "Reach Back" demonstration linked the flag-plot on the Inchon to a response cell at CSS manned by MCM tactician developers, MCM hardware experts, and mine threat experts in real time. The "Reach Back" capability enabled shore-based infrastructure to provide timely support to forward-deployed MCM forces. For the demonstration, the flag-plot developed on Inchon was linked via JMCIS/OTCIXS to COMINEWARCOM and from there to CSS via a dedicated STU-III line where it was displayed on a TAC-3 workstation. The CSS response cell received tasking directly from the flag-plot onboard Inchon. Tasking and subsequent responses were transmitted as JMCIS/OTCIXS Op Notes.

Military officials from nine NATO and "Partnership For Peace" (PFP) countries participated as U.S. Navy mine countermeasures forces-based primarily in South Texas-train in a pair of simultaneous exercises off the coast of Corpus Christi Sept. 20-30, 1999. The U.S.-sponsored Gulf of Mexico Exercise (GOMEX) 99-2 and NATO-sponsored exercise Cooperative Telos '99 put to practice integrated mine countermeasures operations, using surface ships, helicopters and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) detachments.

While the ships, aircraft and divers conduct their live exercise at sea, approximately 30 representatives from the NATO and PFP countries participated in a mine countermeasures seminar, a cultural program, and visits to exercise ships to witness U.S. mine countermeasures forces in action. Cooperative Telos, designed to foster mine countermeasures interoperability among participating nations, was conducted by Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command and Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Rear Adm. Jose Betancourt, commander of the U.S. Navy's Mine Warfare Command, based in Corpus Christi, will directed the exercise. Countries participating include Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Sweden, Canada, Denmark, and Poland.

GOMEX 99-2 was one of a series of regularly scheduled exercises aimed at putting to the test the mine countermeasures training and capability of participating forces. Capt. Gary Belcher, Commander, Mine Countermeasures Squadron Three, based at Naval Station Ingleside, was the exercise's operational commander. U.S. participants in the exercises included the mine countermeasures ships USS Pioneer (MCM 9) and USS Warrior (MCM 10), along with the coastal minehunters USS Oriole (MHC 55) and USS Cardinal (MHC 60), all homeported at Naval Station Ingleside. The air element will be comprised of four MH-53E "Sea Dragon" helicopters from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron Fifteen (HM-15), based at Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit Three, detachments seven and 15 from San Diego, along with a Canadian EOD team, provided underwater support. Approximately 850 U.S. Navy personnel were involved in the exercises.

Two mine countermeasure (MCM) exercises were held in the Gulf of Mexico during September 1999. One was the ninth in the series of Minewarfare Readiness and Effectiveness Measuring (MIREM-9) exercises conducted under the direction of the Navy's Surface Warfare Development Group based in Norfolk, Virginia. Gulf of Mexico Exercise (GOMEX 99-2) followed the MIREM, and was under the direction of the Mine Countermeasures Squadron Three based in Ingleside, Texas. Both exercises took place in the littoral waters southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas. The goals of MIREM-9 were to assess and document performance of surface and air MCM systems in tactical environments; to identify and develop solutions for tactical problems connected with the employment of mine warfare systems and platforms; to make recommendations for effective employment of mine warfare systems and platforms; to validate and support the development of Fleet, force and unit MCM tactics; and finally, to establish and maintain an MCM repository that is comprehensive and responsive to Fleet and CNO requirements for tactical and technical data. The purpose of GOMEX 99-2 was to practice integrated MCM operations using surface ships, helicopters and explosive ordnance disposal detachments. These ships, aircraft, and divers integrate unique capabilities, forming the MCM "triad."

More than 1,700 Sailors tested their mine warfare proficiency during a Gulf of Mexico Exercise (GOMEX) beginning 09 January 2001 and running through Jan. 19. The Staff of Mine Countermeasures Squadron One directed the exercise from USS Inchon (MCS 12), the U.S. Navy's only Mine Countermeasures Command and Control Ship. MCM forces participating in GOMEX were under the tactical command of the commander of Mine Countermeasures Squadron One, based at Ingleside. Ships taking part included the mine countermeasures command and control ship USS Inchon (MCS 12); the coastal mine hunters USS Osprey (MHC 51), USS Heron (MHC 52), USS Pelican (MHC 53) and USS Falcon (MHC 59). The mine countermeasures ships USS Avenger (MCM 1), USS Champion (MCM 4), USS Devastator (MCM 6), USS Scout (MCM 8), USS Pioneer (MCM 9), USS Warrior (MCM 10), USS Gladiator (MCM 11), and USS Chief (MCM 14) also participated. USNS Saturn (T-AFS 10), a Combat Stores Ship operated by the Military Sealift Command, provided logistics support during the exercise. Other GOMEX participants included MH-53 "Sea Dragon" aircraft from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron FIFTEEN (HM-15), based at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas; and CH-46D "Sea Knight" aircraft from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron SIX, based at Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) THREE, Detachments FIFTEEN from San Diego, Calif.; and EODMU SIX, Detachments TWO, TEN, and TWELVE, based in Ingleside; as well as Mobile Mine Assembly Unit FIFTEEN, based at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, also participated in the exercise.

Nearly 400 Sailors tested their mine warfare proficiency during Gulf of Mexico Exercise (GOMEX) 01-2 and Mine Warfare Readiness and Effectiveness Measurement (MIREM)-17 beginning 11 June 2001 and running through June 22. GOMEX 01-2 marked the transition of Mine Warfare Readiness Group Four from training to ready-to-deploy status and includes integrated surface, air and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) mine countermeasures (MCM) operations. MIREM 17 ran concurrently with GOMEX. The MIREM program was established to collect and analyze high quality data and to quantitatively assess readiness and effectiveness of Mine Warfare assets. The exercises was conducted in the Gulf of Mexico, and at Naval Station Ingleside, Texas.

MCM forces participating in GOMEX 01-2 were under the tactical command of Capt. Gregory Cornish, commander of Mine Countermeasures Squadron Three based at Ingleside. Ships taking part in the exercises included the coastal mine hunters USS Oriole (MHC 55), USS Cormorant (MHC 57), and USS Shrike (MHC 62). The mine countermeasures ships USS Pioneer (MCM 9), USS Warrior (MCM 10), and USS Gladiator (MCM 11) will also participate in the exercise. Members of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit TWO, based at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va.; Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit 108; Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) SIX, Detachments SIX and TEN, based in Ingleside; as well as Mobile Mine Assembly Unit FIFTEEN, based at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, also participated in the exercise.

During GOMEX 01-2, Sailors aboard the coastal minehunters and mine countermeasures ships searched for, identified, neutralized and recovered sea mines. Crews used a variety of methods to find and neutralize sea mines, including mechanical and influence minesweeping techniques. Their training prepared the ships of Mine Warfare Readiness Group Four for their upcoming deployment to the Atlantic Ocean in the fall. Observers from the Surface Warfare Development Group, based in Little Creek, Va. participated in the MIREM portion of the exercise, designed to gather data on the effectiveness of mine warfare systems.



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