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EOD Units Enhance Multimission Capability During Talisman Saber

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090717-14
Release Date: 7/17/2009 1:18:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric Deatherage

QUEENSLAND, Australia (NNS) -- U.S. and Australian Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units are working together during Exercise Talisman Saber 2009 to improve combined operations and readiness.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expeditionary Support Unit (EODESU) 1, based out of San Diego, and Australian Clearance Diving Team 1 are sharing methods to disarm and render safe any explosive devices, including those underwater. EOD units also prepare coastal areas for amphibious landings, provide intelligence about potential threats and integrate with other special forces units, enabling access and clearing the way to complete the mission.

"This has been excellent training that we can use anywhere…Iraq or Afghanistan," said Navy Diver 1st Class Derek Hayes of Pearl Harbor. "They are very knowledgeable. We've been able to share and integrate methods, ideas and lessons learned. It really helps both sides."

The history of U.S.-Australian partnership in the EOD field dates back to Vietnam. Talisman Saber helps solidify the rapport.

"There is a very good relationship between Australian and U.S. divers," said Australian clearance diver Warrant Officer Paul Darcy of Sydney, a 34-year veteran who has been involved in "many" exercises with the United States. "It reinforces our training and techniques. We utilize the same [ordnance] publications, equipment and procedures. We basically mirror each other, and that makes it easy to force multiply."

While working with the Australians has been extremely beneficial to both sides, it also brings some unique challenges.

"I've done a lot of these exercises," said Storekeeper 2nd Class Gary Ray, an EOD diver from San Diego, "but this is the first time I've had to check piers and bridges for crocodiles before diving."

Aussie wildlife aside, the exercise presents an opportunity to improve logistics, increase capabilities and further an already strong international affiliation.

"They've been a pleasure to work with," said Senior Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Kim Sorrell of San Diego. "They are very flexible, knowledgeable and accommodating. We're forming long-lasting relationships that will help in future combat operations."

Exercise Talisman Saber 2009 is a biennial combined training activity designed to train Australian and U.S. forces in planning and conducting combined task force operations, which will help improve combined readiness and interoperability.

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