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U.S., Spain EOD Units Participate in Exercise Magre 08-1

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080613-10
Release Date: 6/13/2008 3:08:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Paul Cage, Naval Station Rota Public Affairs

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobil Unit (EODMU) 8 Det. Europe and the Spanish navy's Unidad Especial Desactivad De Explosivo took part in the 8th Annual Magre Exercise 08-1 at Naval Station Rota, June 9-12.

Each year, U.S. EOD work with Spanish counterparts to enhance interoperability and hone their skills in EOD tactics, techniques and procedures.

"Training like this is very important," said Lt. Matthew Coombs, officer in charge of EODMU 8 Det. Europe. "It is how we learn and get better. We get to see the techniques and equipment the Spanish use and vice versa."

Besides training on techniques with explosives, participants also trained using the MK II Talon robot. By using the robot, technicians can effectively neutralize a suspected IED while maintaining a safe distance in the event of a detonation.

"When you get down range and in country, that is not the time to be learning," said Coombs. "Out here on the range, learning by trial and error is where you learn, so when you do get down range, you can put to use the techniques, and the training you learned here."

EODMU 8 members say training with their Spanish counterparts benefits everyone involved.

"We have a great working relationship with the Spanish and worked with three different Spanish EOD units throughout the year," said Coombs. "Two are trained on surface and underwater explosives hazards and the other specializes in mine countermeasure missions. Today's team was one that deals with surface and underwater explosive threats. So anytime we get to learn and enhance our interoperability capabilities' between our countries it creates fantastic training."

Throughout the exercise, Spanish and Americans shared years of experience.

"Both of our countries have the same capabilities and some of the same equipment," said Sargento-Primero Manuel Gutierrez Ramirez. "So now, these exercises are a way for us to see how each other works, look at and share techniques improves both of our navies' capabilities."

Ramirez noted that working with the U.S. Navy is a beneficial way of honing his and his unit's skills.

"Coming here to Rota is much easier than going to Sigonella, Sicily," said Ramirez. "We came here and we learned a few things. Anytime we get a chance to train with the Americans it is good training."

For more news from Naval Station Rota, visit www.navy.mil/local/rota/.

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