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Around The Fleet

Southern Partnership Station 2014

Signs on the Ground

Navy explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) THREE are in Belize working with the Belize Coast Guard SEALs as part of Southern Partnership Station 2014.

"One of the first skills the U.S. and Belizean Sailors are working on is "ground signs awareness." Ground signs awareness is, basically, looking at the ground and being able to spot anything that looks suspicious or out of place. It does not involve any scanners or fancy goggles, but it is an important skill for an operator to have.

The main tool that we're focusing on with the ground signs awareness and route selection is the eyes," said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 2nd Class Josh Lamm, of EODMU 3. "You can be issued everything, you can go to the store and buy whatever you want, but your eyes are your number-one tool."

To practice spotting ground signs and using those signs to choose the best route to take, the EOD techs set up tripwires, buried mock pressure plates, and asked the Belizean SEALs to lead them along the safest route while pointing out, marking, and avoiding all the possible hazards.

"If one of the biggest learning points is being wary of choke points, then we need to set up things - such as booby traps - that get them thinking the whole time that 'choke points are bad,'" said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 2nd Class Daniel Bracken, of EODMU 3.

The EOD techs will be in Belize for about two months before moving on to Guatemala, the next stop on their Southern Partnership Station mission. Southern Partnership Station 2014 is a U.S. Navy deployment focused on subject matter expert exchanges with partner nation militaries and security forces in Central and South America and the Caribbean. U.S. military teams work with partner nation forces during naval-focused training exercises, military-to-military engagements and community relations projects in an effort to enhance partnerships with regional maritime activities and improve the operational readiness of participants.