Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 8, Det. Europe participated in trilateral field training Exercise Magre at Naval Station Rota, Spain, Nov. 18 – 22.
U.S., Spanish and German forces participated in the exercise that focused on improvised explosive device (IED)- related training including, using X-ray diagnostics, robots and other critical skill sets in combat environments.
“The focus of this mission is to basically learn from each other,” said Lt. Aaron Holdren, EODMU 8, det. Europe officer in charge. “As we grow in the joint combat environment, we find that we work together on a regular basis. This gives an understanding of how we all do our jobs and how we can do it better while working together.”
For members like Senior Chief Petty Officer Dirk Assmann, German navy explosive ordnance disposal technician, each visit to Rota offers a chance to learn a new tactical procedure.
“It is necessary to do this type of training,” said Assmann. “If you’re training on your own, it is hard to improve from your mistakes. This way we can share and compare our knowledge and later incorporate it in standard operation procedures.”
Assmann added that all units are very professional and knowledgeable concerning EOD tactics and procedures.
“We are always accepted with opened arms,” said Assmann. “We’re used to training with Spanish forces throughout Europe and [the German navy has] a long relation with the U.S. It is always a pleasant experience with them.”
The exercise concluded with a full mission profile; a final assessment that incorporated and tested the skills that were drilled throughout Exercise Magre.
“The great thing is we are all EOD techs, therefore we can learn from each other,” said Holdren. “We have a vast number of years of experience between us as well as field experience.
There is always something to be learned, and we can hone our skills and work better together. At the end of the day, when we are called upon, we are ready to go and can work together in the same fashion with an understanding on how to do each of our jobs.”
Press Release, November 27, 2013; Image: US Navy