USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) members, currently aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), teamed up with a Moroccan EOD team during the multi-national exercise Majestic Eagle in July, which included joint forces from Morocco, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
EOD Mobile Unit 6 Det. 10, homeported in Charleston, S.C., landed by helicopter July 11 initially to provide emergency ordnance disposal for the four-day operation. Poor weather, however, prevented bombs from being dropped on the designated bomb range by any of the eight foreign services participating in the exercise.
The two teams instead created a training environment, with the American EOD team facilitating hands-on training for Royal Moroccan armed forces members.
"They were enthusiastic and eager to get us out there," said Photographer's Mate 1st Class (EOD/AW/FPJ) Jody Lanham. "I enjoyed working with them."
The Moroccan bomb range Cap Draa, located on the western coast of Morocco in Northern Africa, was the site of a number of types of demolition training procedures that gave Moroccan EOD members more experience with materials they are rarely able to use or train with.
"They have limited resources, so they don't get a chance to do this very often," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (EOD/PJ) Chuck Phillips.
"It's important to them," said Lanham, "so we let them take the ball and run with it."
While there, the Americans gave foreign soldiers interactive training in blasting caps, detonating cord and C-4 explosives, as well as precaution and safety advice throughout the four days of the exercise, hoping to pass on more of their knowledge to the eager students.
The Royal Kingdom of Morocco, not a member of NATO, was recently granted Major Non-NATO ally status by President George W. Bush, giving the country a unique opportunity to train with their American counterparts.
"It's always valuable to work with other nations," Lanham said, especially now when interoperability among both allied nations and the other services is critical in the global war on terror.
EOD operates on several levels in this arena. Aboard Truman, EOD primarily supports the flight deck during flight operations, standing by in case of ordnance mishap. While away from the ship, the team works in two-man teams to support ground units.
They work with Marine Expeditionary units and Army ordnance and EOD Battalions. Because of their versatility, elite forces such as Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) teams, Army Green Beret and Ranger Units, and Marine Recon and FAST companies typically request EOD units.
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