Personnel assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3 are training non-EOD Sailors in special operations tactics aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
Once a week, Sailors selected by their division meet in the hangar bay for hands-on training for the naval special warfare basic roper qualification.
“I want to offer something new for the hard working Sailors trying to better themselves and experience something unique they can tell their friends and family about,” said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 1st Class Aaron Rickel, from Ketchikan, Alaska. “I want this to prove that doing more than what’s expected of you and being professional will pay off.”
Rickel began teaching the course with the assistance of other EOD technicians and plans to continue providing training until every division aboard the ship gets an opportunity to attend.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Lindsay Frizzel, from Westchester, N.Y. “I’m glad I had the chance to try something like this underway.”
Rickel begins his training by teaching Sailors to rappel using a harness. With this method, another Sailor, called a belay, uses his own body weight as a counterbalance to the descending Sailor.
“[Rickel] was very patient with everybody and worked with each of us individually until we were comfortable enough to continue the training,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Daniel Borboa, from Sierra Vista, Ariz. “I had a blast going through the training.”
After Rickel is confident a Sailor is able to descend proficiently and safely, the Sailor will be offered training in more advanced methods, including fast-roping.
The final step in the naval special warfare basic roper training and qualification is to perform all of the techniques from a helicopter in mid-flight and, once qualified, the Sailor will be eligible to participate in any non-operational rappelling or fast-roping exercises.
The John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG), consisting of Stennis, Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 21, and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) are forward deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility to strengthen regional partnerships, sustain maritime security, and support combatant commander requirements for assets in the area.
Naval Today Staff, January 10, 2013; Image: US Navy