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EOD Unit Gets a "Lift"

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070817-24
Release Date: 8/17/2007 2:46:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Patrick Cook, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det. Mayport

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Members of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 6, Det. Mayport conducted training exercises with HH-60H Seahawks assigned to the "Red Lions" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 15 of Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Aug. 7.

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team spent their afternoon suspended from the bottom of flying aircraft during Special Purpose Insertion and Extraction (SPIE), or jumping from and then climbing back into helicopters hovering along the Saint Johns River in Jacksonville.

“We train for Cast and Recovery operations as well as Special Purpose Insertion and Extraction to maintain proficiency in different insertion and extraction techniques,” said Lt. John J. Stewart, officer in charge of the team.

The drills benefit EOD operations by training the Sailors to respond to explosive ordnance incidents that they might otherwise deny access. Casting, which involves jumping from an airborne helicopter into the water, is used mainly during floating mine responses so EOD technicians can get to waterborne mines and get recovered by the aircraft.

SPIE is a technique that can be used to place or extract personnel from densely wooded areas or other hostile landscapes which provide unsuitable landings for helicopters. In SPIE rigging, up to eight personnel can be attached to a rope and be relocated without having to land the helicopter.

“It depends on how you feel about heights. I think for most people it does feel a little like flying,” said Stewart. “Once you’re in the air and moving, you can use your arms to swing from side to side. At that point the height doesn’t really get to you anymore.”

The team was able to complete four high-risk evolutions safely in under an hour with the help of two Helicopter Rope Suspension Training masters/CAST masters and the aircrew from HS-15.

The mission of the Navy EOD force is to identify, render safe, and disposal of hazardous unexploded conventional munitions, chemical munitions, and improvised explosive devices. An EOD technician today can respond to an improvised explosive device incident in Iraq or Afghanistan, aid the U.S. Secret Service in protecting dignitaries or provide direct support to combat forces including U.S. Navy SEALs or Army Special Forces units.

EOD is part of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), a global force provider of adaptive force packages of expeditionary capabilities to joint and maritime warfighting commanders.

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