USS MOUNT WHITNEY, At Sea (NNS) -- Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8 and USS Mount Whitney (LCC/JCC 20) are providing guidance for Baltic nation mine counter measure (MCM) units practicing their craft during Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2011, through June 17.
Lithuanian Navy Cmdr. Andris Sirvys, commander, Baltic Naval Squadron (BALTRON); said it is hard to determine exactly how much old ordnance remains in the Baltic. He estimates up to 200,000 historical mines, torpedoes, missiles, and other ordnance were launched in the Baltic for testing and other exercises starting with the Russian Revolution through World War II.
"What we do know, are the areas where these former shooting exercises took place," said Sirvys. "We are prioritizing those areas. Our job will never be done, but we will make the Baltic safer for everyone."
Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2011, commenced June 5. During the operations, BALTRON ships are focusing their efforts on some of these hazardous areas. So far, they found several pieces of old ordnance, even while searching for newly-deployed practice mines.
"It's very impressive to see first hand how the Baltic nations work together for a common goal," said Lt. Bobby Gillenwater, CSG 8 explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) officer. "While the United States Navy has recently been focusing on ground EOD efforts, the Baltic nations have really become proficient in surface and underwater mine counter measures."
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/naveur/.