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US, Indian Navy Participate in Spitting Cobra 2010

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS100423-03

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Peter Lewis, Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs

SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Exercise Spitting Cobra 2010 concluded successfully April 22 after two weeks of intense training and simulations between the U.S. and Indian Navy on Guam.

During the exercise, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians from each country's Navy worked together and learned from one another.

In its seventh year, the annual joint exercise saw interaction between Sailors of EOD Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 and members of the Indian Navy. The service members participated in a variety of training activities, including demolition exercises, helicopter operations and hostage threat simulations.

Lt. Ivan Kanzaki, EODMU 5 platoon officer-in-charge, said the joint exercise enhances global operations and strengthens U.S. ties with the allied nation.

"I believe joint exercise Spitting Cobra is the first step towards building a stronger partnership between our nations' navies and, more specifically, our EOD forces," said Kanzaki. "I believe both parties learned a lot from the exercise, and I hope it will help us form a stronger partnership in the global war on terror."

Commodore Monty Khanna, naval attache to the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C., was appreciative of the opportunity for the EOD technicians from the two navies to observe and learn from each others' experiences and skills.

"There is always a lot to learn in this field," said Khanna. "We know that, especially from the U.S. right now because of the ongoing operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a lot we can learn from you in this field."

Members of both navies agreed that the joint exercise was a great benefit to both countries and that it has served to strengthen the bond between two nations.

"There was a bilateral exchange of information, as well as techniques," said Indian Navy Lt. Cmdr. Soumitra Deodhar. "We stand to gain as far as both navies are concerned."

During a day of improvised explosives training April 21, EODMU 5 Sailors instructed Indian Sailors on the construction and effects of kicker charges, which utilize water to neutralize suspected hazardous devices and materials. EODMU 5 also taught their Indian counterparts the proper use of detonation cord, timed fuses and other explosive devices.

The day ended with a show of explosive force, as EODMU 5 blew an automobile to smithereens using an improvised explosive device, an event that would not usually be seen outside of a war zone.

"This training is going to benefit the Indian Navy by giving them very advanced hands-on training that they might not have access to otherwise," said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 2nd Class (DV/PJ) Nathan Ulbrich, of EODMU 5.

On the final day of hands-on training, an urban hostage situation was staged. Members of the Indian Navy boarded a helicopter, flew to the hostage site and rappelled from the chopper. Once at the hostage site, an Indian Navy EOD officer diffused a simulated bomb that was strapped to the chest of a hostage.

The exercise ended with both sides gaining valuable experience and learning techniques that will prove to be valuable tools, given the inherent danger that comes with being an EOD technician.

"From the experiences gained by the U.S. Navy, we can gain similar knowledge and maybe save a couple of lives," said Deodhar.

EODMU 5 is a forward-deployed mobile command providing EOD detachments and a fly-away recompression chamber detachment to U.S. 7th Fleet. The primary mission is to enable access for carrier and expeditionary strike groups, mine countermeasures operations and special operations forces.

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