War on Terrorism

Sunday, September 26, 2010

EOD Team Supports 5th Fleet Mission, Returns Home

From U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

MANAMA, Bahrain (NNS) -- Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams are routinely deployed throughout the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR in support of major combat operations in Afghanistan and stability operations in Iraq.

"I'm very proud of the performance of our Sailors," said Cmdr. Stephen Jackson, EODMU 2 commanding officer. "They excelled while planning, leading and executing combat operations in a challenging expeditionary environment, and they safely disarmed over 100 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during this deployment which directly contributed to the safety of U.S. Soldiers and Iraqi Forces."

Teams like EODMU 2 dispose of all types of ordnance, whether conventional or unconventional, and can demolish explosive or hazardous material on land and underwater.

While deployed, approximately 35 EODMU 2 Sailors staffed the battalion headquarters operational EOD forces of Joint Task Force Troy-North, a specialized Counter-IED Task force at Contingency Operating Base (COB) Speicher, located approximately 90 miles north of Baghdad. The task force neutralizes IED threats, conducts weapons technical intelligence collection and exploitation to defeat IED networks, provides training and recommends materiel solutions to protect U. S. forces, and advises, trains, assists and equips Iraqi Security Forces in building sustainable security capabilities.

"EODMU 2 Sailors significantly increased the capacity of our Iraqi partners to defeat our enemies' weapon of choice – the IED," Jackson said. "It is through our partnership efforts that we will have a lasting impact on the long term stability of Iraq."

With the help of EODMU 2 Sailors, Joint Task Force Troy-North coordinated more than 600 combat missions conducted by multi-service EOD companies, weapons intelligence teams and a combined explosive exploitation cell during the deployment. They found and cleared 113 IEDs, destroyed 201 arms caches, destroyed more than 22,000 lbs of captured enemy ordnance, and conducted more than 200 post blast analyses. The analysis provided critical forensic evidence in support of follow-on violent extremist network targeting.

Additionally, the task force mentored and partnered with five Iraqi Bomb Disposal units and four Iraqi Police Counter-Explosive Teams to develop their counter-IED capability. That partnership marked the beginning of the transition of counter-IED responsibilities to Iraqi Security Forces which will enable a security environment that promotes the rule of law throughout Iraq, and sets conditions for further political and economic development.

EODMU 2 also participated in the transition to Operation New Dawn during their deployment. Operation New Dawn marked the official end to Operation Iraqi Freedom and combat operations by U.S. forces in Iraq Sept. 1, and also the start of a comprehensive transition of responsibilities to the Iraqi government and military.

"U.S. Navy EOD supports the NAVCENT mission by providing the full spectrum of EOD capabilities in support of stability operations in Operation New Dawn, combat operations in Operation Enduring Freedom, carrier strike group operations and humanitarian assistance," said Cmdr. John Lewis, Combined Task Force (CTF) 56 director of operations and plans.

CTF 56 is the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) liaison for EOD units deployed to the Middle East. CTF 56 expeditionary combat forces control EOD, naval coastal warfare units, seabee, expeditionary logistics support forces and riverine forces.

The NAVCENT/ U.S. 5th Fleet AOR encompass approximately 2.5 million square miles of area including the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, parts of the Indian Ocean and 27 countries. Fifth Fleet's priority mission is to conduct persistent maritime operations to deter and counter disruptive countries, defeat violent extremism and strengthen partner nations' maritime capabilities in order to promote a secure maritime environment in the U.S. Central Command AOR.

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