Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians with Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56.1 worked alongside French and Danish EOD divers as well as Bahraini forces in Manama, Bahrain this week as part of this year’s International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX), Oct. 27-Nov. 13.
IMCMEX is the largest international naval exercise, with more than a quarter of the world’s navies participating, including 38 naval ships and 6,500 sailors from every region as well as over 30 commercial merchant ships of various nationalities.
The purpose of the exercise is to promote maritime security and the free flow of trade through mine countermeasure operations, maritime security operations, and maritime infrastructure protection in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility and throughout the world.
“It is very important to work with our coalition partners to learn each other’s capabilities, strengthen ties and increase interoperability,” said Lt. j.g. Ryan Bresson, officer-in-charge for Commander, Task Unit (CTU) 56.1.1.
“Our focus as a platoon in the week leading up to this exercise was on successfully planning and executing great training with the coalition forces for the benefit of everyone involved in the exercise,” said Senior Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Jonah Brixey, with CTG 56.1.
Brixey said they’ve maintained that exceptional focus throughout the exercise, with the CTG 56.1 EOD technicians executing official drills for the maneuver, as well as helping facilitate training and drills with foreign forces as a way to improve everyone’s tactics, techniques, and procedures.
“Our piece of this entire exercise has involved hundreds of man hours and dozens of dives and drills,” said Brixey.
As part of the exercise, CTG 56.1 EOD technicians in Manama have participated alongside French, Danish and Bahraini forces to respond to numerous simulated land and shoreside threats, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs), vehicle-borne IEDs, limpet-mine attacks and suicide-vest attacks. They also participated in simulated active shooter drills, conducted diver-casualty drills and practiced underwater search techniques, bomb disposal robot operation and remote rigging.
“Our goal as a platoon is to conduct as much tough, realistic training with the partner forces as possible during this exercise,” Brixey said. “I know we’ll be able to learn quite a bit from them, and I hope they’ll be able to learn some things from us.”