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Freedom of the Seas: Navy EOD Integrates Aboard Arlington to Clear the Way for the Fleet

16 August 2021

From Petty Officer 2nd Class John Bellino, USS Arlington (LPD 24) Public Affairs

ATLANTIC OCEAN - Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures (ExMCM) Company 2-3, attached to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 6, EOD Group 2, embarked San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, USS Arlington (LPD 24), Aug. 3-9, to take part in the U.S. Navy’s Large-Scale Exercise 2021 (LSE 2021).

The ExMCM Company, headquartered out of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, demonstrated the ability to bolster distributed maritime operations capabilities by enabling freedom-of-maneuver for the fleet.

ExMCM is an adaptable force of units capable of integrating with, or separating from, each other to complete complex tasks in austere, high-risk environments. This modular design allows for tailoring units to the unique operational requirements of each mission.

Their use of unmanned undersea vehicles (UUV) also increases the lethality, agility, mobility and resiliency of the Navy EOD force. EODMU-6 deployed Mark 18 Mod 2 UUVs from rigid-hull inflatable boats out of Arlington’s well deck, with an objective of detecting and locating underwater mines to destroy or exploit during LSE 2021.

“We embarked on the Arlington to conduct underwater mine countermeasures from the sea,” said Senior Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Clifford Sabo, ExMCM Company 2-3’s leading chief petty officer. “Over the last week, with help from the Arlington crew, my unmanned systems platoon was able to find and identify two underwater training mine-like contacts on the ocean floor.”

Operating out of the well deck of an amphibious ship is not a new concept in the Navy EOD community, although for many Sailors of EODMU-6, LSE 2021 was the first time utilizing this strategic approach for mine countermeasures. As the only EOD community within the joint force with the capability to conduct mine warfare as a core competency, Navy EOD is experienced in providing freedom-of-navigation and maneuverability for the surface and sub-surface fleet.

“LSE 2021 was a great opportunity for our unit to integrate with an LPD-class ship to provide a clear path and freedom-of-the-seas for the fleet,” said Sabo. “I’m very thankful for all the help from the Arlington, ensuring the safety of our team and mission success.”

One of Navy EOD’s strategic goals is to continue expanding capabilities at sea, in the air, and on land by leveraging diverse platforms that enable freedom-of-maneuver for adaptable expeditionary units, so they are able to deploy around the globe to protect U.S. national interests and support regional allies and partners.

EODMU-6 is a critical part of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Force that clears explosive hazards to provide access to denied areas; secures the undersea domain for complete freedom-of-maneuver; builds and fosters relationships with a constellation of capable and trusted partners; and protects the homeland and American way of life.

 

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