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Guardian Begins At-Sea Operations for Cobra Gold '07

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070514-28
Release Date: 5/14/2007 5:04:00 PM

By Lt j.g. Steve Peterson - USS Guardian (MCM 5) Public Affairs

SATTAHIP, Thailand (NNS) -- Sasebo, Japan-based minesweeper USS Guardian (MCM 5) began its at-sea portion of Cobra Gold 2007 near the waters of Sattahip on May 11, facilitating the laying of mine shapes (simulated mines) for upcoming mine countermeasure bilateral training with the Royal Thai Navy.

Guardian and embarked Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 Detachment 51 will work alongside Royal Thai Navy (RTN) minesweepers to detect, sweep and neutralize simulated mines.

The Thai- and U.S.-led Cobra Gold 07 is a regularly scheduled joint/combined multinational exercise meant to improve military readiness, joint interoperability and capability between the participating nations in a complex multinational environment.

“This is a great opportunity for us to participate in realistic training and foster relations with a key partner in our mission within the 7th Fleet [area of operations],” said Guardian Executive Officer Lt. Ted Essenfeld. “The experience gained here is what makes Cobra Gold such a significant training event each and every year.”

Guardian, which is on a long-term deployment through Southeast Asia, arrived in Sattahip’s Chuk Samet Port on May 7 and has been working in port with its RTN counterparts to plan for a successful execution of the mine countermeasure mission. While in port, Guardian Sailors visited the H.T.M.S. Tha Din Daeng (MHC-634) to learn more about their foreign counterparts and their minesweeping ships.

”I liked seeing the layout of the main machinery room onboard the Thai minehunter,” said Engineman 3rd Class Robert Sewell. “I’m looking forward to working with the Thai Navy and seeing their capabilities.”

Execution of mine countermeasures operations is broken down into two phases: detection and neutralization. Guardian and RTN assets will detect the mine shapes using sonar systems and an unmanned mine neutralization vehicle.

Once a mine has been discovered, the primary means of neutralization is to deploy Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) divers, who will either render it safe for clearance or rig it for remote detonation from a safe distance.

EOD specializes in Underwater Mine Countermeasures and this mission area is important to the surface fleet. During Cobra Gold, U.S. and Thai EOD forces will work closely together.

“EOD is very important to regional security, so we’re always striving to train with, and learn from, our foreign counterparts,” said Lt. Henry Lin, EODMU 5, Det. 51 officer in charge. “To do our jobs effectively and safely, we need to continuously train together to act as one cohesive unit.”

Guardian and EODMU 5 Det. 51 are currently on a long-term deployment in Southeast Asia to support U.S. 7th Fleet’s interoperability and training commitments in mine neutralization warfare and maritime operations. Guardian serves under Task Force 76, based out of Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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