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US Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Expert Exchange Begins in Colombia

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS180816-02
Release Date: 8/16/2018 8:24:00 AM

From Southern Partnership Station 2018 Public Affairs

CARTAGENA, Colombia (NNS) -- A U.S. Navy team of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians arrived in Colombia, Aug. 6, to participate in subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs) and partner-capacity building engagements with Colombian military forces as part of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2018.

Members from Platoon 231, EOD Mobile Unit 2 will participate in classroom and practical field application with the Infantería de Marina Colombiana (Colombian marines) and the Ejército Nacional de Colombia (Colombian National army) at the Colombian marine training base located in the town of Coveñas, on Colombia's Caribbean coast, Aug. 7-24.

According to Lt. Sam Gedeon, Platoon 231 commander, the engagement will allow for both militaries to learn from each other and build on best practices and experiences from participating units.

"We'll begin the mission with classroom instruction and field exercises set up by the U.S. and the Colombians," said Gedeon. "We'll have the opportunity to observe how they process problems and situations, and they will see how we work through ours."

"Working together in this environment will allow us to compare best practices and collectively work to find the best tools, tactics and procedures for many situations," added Gedeon.

Participating in SMEEs with joint and international partners allows participating units to learn from each other's experiences and allows for greater interoperability between the forces.

"We look to learn a lot from our EOD counterparts in Colombia," said Gedeon. "They have a lot of firsthand knowledge of explosives and have operated extensively in both the urban and rural environments."

The engagement will also provide an opportunity for practitioners of a very unique and dangerous profession to bond, work together as team, and share common experiences of the trade.

"There is a very small percentage of people across the world who volunteer to be EOD technicians," said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 2nd Class Andy Bosko. "This is my first time participating in an exchange like this, and I look forward to working with other professionals who work in this exciting, challenging, and sometimes dangerous career."

The SMEE in Coveñas is one of two engagements Platoon 231 will participate in during Southern Partnership Station, and is one of four adaptive force packages (AFPs) deployed to the Caribbean, Central and South America during the 2018 iteration of the mission.

Held on an annual basis by U.S. Southern Command and executed by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, Southern Partnership Station is a U.S. Navy deployment focused on SMEEs with partner nation militaries and security forces.

This year's deployment will visit Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Colombia, Honduras, and El Salvador to work alongside those nations' military forces, security forces, civilian health professionals, and other governmental agencies.

Southern Partnership Station focuses on enhancing cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services and improving operational readiness for all participants. Additionally, the mission will provide an opportunity for U.S. and partner nations to operate in a multinational environment, refine coordination, improve interoperability, and demonstrate flexibility.

Southern Partnership Station is a demonstration of the strong U.S. commitment to partners in the Caribbean, Central and South America, fostering goodwill and enhancing our collective ability to respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. SPS 18 will conclude in October 2018.

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