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MDSU-2 Brings Unique Capability to Minneapolis Bridge Recovery

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070810-06
Release Date: 8/10/2007 1:49:00 PM

By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Dave Nagle, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Public Affairs

MINNEAPOLIS (NNS) -- Navy divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 from Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek are bringing unique expeditionary diving and salvage capabilities to the search and recovery efforts at the site of the I-35 bridge collapse.

MDSU-2 divers and a command and control element that includes representatives from Naval Sea Systems Command and Underwater Construction Team (UCT) 1 have been in Minneapolis since Aug. 5, at the request of the Department of Transportation and in support of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. Divers are working in shifts daily, conducting a search of the area, removing debris and recovering vehicles.

As experts in expeditionary combat salvage, MDSU-2 has earned its reputation during combat salvage operations to open the Al Faw waterway in Iraq and through unique operations, such as the recovery of TWA Flight 800, the Challenger and Columbia Space Shuttles, and Swiss Air Flight 111 recovery, refloating of YFU-83 in Puerto Rico, the deep salvage of USS Monitor wreckage, and recovery of Haitian ferry victims. Recent disaster relief operations include response to Hurricane Katrina.

MDSU-2 provides expeditionary combat salvage capabilities that include mobile ship salvage, towing, battle-damage repair, deep-ocean recovery, harbor-clearance demolition and emergent underwater ship repair.

“We bring to the search and recovery efforts here in Minneapolis the ability to lift and move heavy pieces of debris and to dive and operate in high-risk areas that are extremely difficult to access,” said Cmdr. Dan Shultz, MDSU-2 commanding officer. “These unique diving and salvage capabilities are not readily available in the first responder community.”

Just as important, they bring the ability to deploy these capabilities at a moment’s notice to any place, at any time.

“Within 48 hours, two teams of divers with 75,000 pounds of equipment were on scene, ready to support,” said Shultz. “Within nine hours of arriving here, a dive team was in the water conducting recovery dives in surface-supplied hard hats.”

“That’s the whole key to being expeditionary,” added MDSU-2's Command Master Chief (MDV) Rosario Garcia. “This expeditionary mindset is epitomized by the phrase ‘bags packed’ -- that is, ready and willing to deploy on a moment’s notice, any time, to any place, to perform any mission.”

Those missions range from providing foreign humanitarian assistance to supporting combat operations by enabling friendly forces increased access and freedom of movement throughout the maritime and riverine battle space.

Shultz explained that his unit’s mission in Minnesota directly relates to the nation’s overall national strategy.

“In 2005, the president issued a National Strategy for Maritime Security, part of which talks specifically about our ability to ensure we maintain waterways and right to commerce in the United States in support of homeland security,” he said. “Our ability to open the Mississippi River here to provide the access the various agencies we are supporting need to do their job directly correlates to that overall strategy.”

MDSU-2 is part of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), a global force provider of adaptive force packages of expeditionary capabilities to joint warfighting commanders. NECC serves as a single manning functional command to centrally manage the current and future readiness, resources, manning, training and equipping of the Navy Expeditionary Force.

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