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Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures Company Uses UUVs to Complete Certification Exercise

26 April 2021

From Chief Petty Officer Jeff Atherton

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 2, completed their pre-deployment Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures (ExMCM) Advanced Certification Exercise (CERTEX) at Naval Support Activity Panama City, April 16.

The EODMU 2 EOD operators and Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) operators are assigned to ExMCM Company 2-2. The exercise tested their ability to detect, identify, and neutralize simulated mine threats.

“The exercise is an integration event in order qualify the company for any future deployments,” said Lt. Samuel Stearney, ExMCM Company 2-2 Commander. “The CERTEX used real-world operational scenarios to validate tactics, techniques and procedures so the company is ready operate in any operational environment.”

A standard ExMCM company is comprised of a 27-person unit with four elements: the command-and-control element (C2), an unmanned systems (UMS) platoon, an EOD MCM platoon, and a post-mission analysis (PMA) cell, all working in tandem, just as they would in a mine warfare environment.

The mission begins with and hinges on the UMS platoon providing mine detection, classification, and identification. The platoon, composed of Sailors from mixed pay grades and ratings, is led by a senior enlisted Sailor and employs the Mk 18 UUV family of systems.

The UMS platoon deploys the MK 18 Mod 2 UUVs to locate potential mine shapes. Upon completion of their detection mission, the data from the vehicles is analyzed by the five-person PMA cell using sonar data and produces a mine-like contact listing to the C2 element for review.

“The importance of the UMS platoon and PMA cell cannot be over stated,” said Stearney. “Without the capability to investigate and identify the hazard ahead of time, the EOD platoon may not know what they are facing. With positive identification that UMS and PMA bring to the table, we can mitigate the risk to the person underwater and get the mission completed safely.”

After data analysis and decision from the C2, the EOD MCM platoon, comprised entirely of highly trained EOD technicians, begins the task of identifying, rendering safe, exploiting, or neutralizing any underwater mines in order ensure the Navy can operate whenever and wherever it is needed.

“The exercise was a great success,” said Senior Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Ken Nati, ExMCM company 2-2 leading chief petty officer. “The CERTEX tested our integration capabilities and we proved ready for any future deployments.”

EODMU 2 headquartered at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, provides credible, combat-ready EOD forces capable of global deployment in support of national interests.


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