The purpose of this event was to showcase integration of fleet and NECC forces, and to validate the updated ExR-ADR Tactical Memorandum (TACMEMO).
NMCB 1 and NMCB 11 personnel traveled from Gulfport, MS to MCOLF Oak Grove while EODMU 12 personnel flew in from the deck of the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10 courtesy of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 5. Three members from Navy Expeditionary Warfare Development Center (EXWDC) traveled from Little Creek, VA to observe the exercise forExR-ADR TACMEMO validation criteria.
Once all personnel were assembled, Exercise Officer in Charge, Lt. Zachery Christensen from NMCB 11 outlined the scheme of maneuver to help ensure a successful exercise after several months of planning.
“During development of the exercise the EOD OIC, Lt. Andrew Sikora, and I were able to sync up on important details to ensure successful operations.” Christensen said.
To simulate damage caused by an attack on the airfield, outlines of craters and spalls were created in advance and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Chief, Calvin Quinn, placed dummy artillery shells and antipersonnel mines to represent unexploded ordnance (UXO).
Once the scene was set, Seabees and EODMU 12 personnel used their unmanned aircraft systems or drones to scan the runway. The drones were able to send a live video feed back to the team which allowed them to map the runway damage and locate the UXO for disposal. Once complete, damage assessment teams (DAT) were sent out to measure the width and depth of the craters and spalls to ensure they have the correct equipment and enough personnel and raw materials to complete the repairs.
At the conclusion of the exercise, it was time to evaluate their performance and the way ahead for future ExR-ADR exercises.
“We showed CSG-10 and associated teams that the NCF can push out quickly and provide actionable data that decision makers can use for effective course of action development,” Christensen said. “It was very rewarding seeing different teams come together for a common goal. Working with CSG-10, HSC-5, and EODMU 12 was not a simple task, as everyone has conflicting schedules and priorities, but everyone put forth an effort to make it work. We also couldn’t have succeeded without Range Safety Officer (RSO) ENS Haduong, Platoon Chief EAC Atwater, and the dedicated Seabees of NCG 2 who brought crucial skillsets to the table.”
However, Christensen feels there are other efforts to pursue that will likely be faced in a real-world scenario.
”As the Naval Construction Force unit on scene we were able to provide EOD with expectations on Civil Engineer Support Equipment (CESE) availability for buried UXO mitigation efforts. In fact, that’s an area both teams are interested in pursuing in the future. Underground UXO would require up-armored CESE in order to uncover and render safe. This type of scenario could be quite common in the real-world and something both teams are keen on practicing in the near future.”
According to Christensen, during the exercise they were able to highlight some strengths and weaknesses with the current TACMEMO, specifically as it relates to working alongside an EOD unit.
“We were able to see the time constraints imposed by UXO mitigation and how they can cascade to increased timeline for damage surveillance and repair,” Christensen said. “I believe the data we collected will be invaluable for future ops and development of the TACMEMO.”
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