US, Japan navies complete mine warfare drill MIWEX

US Navy mine warfare specialists from the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 and their Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) EOD counterparts recently completed mine warfare exercise (MIWEX) 2JA 2019.

Photo: US Navy

MIWEX 2JA is an annual bilateral exercise held between the US and Japan to increase proficiency in mine countermeasure operations.

“The experience of working alongside the Japanese has been excellent,” said Lt. Andrew Kuo, EODMU 5 Platoon 501’s commander. “They’re a very professional force and are very competent at what they do, and we learned a lot from them and they learned a lot from us. As the exercises have gone on, the relationship has grown. I hope it continues to go that way in the future.”

A range of US units participated including USS Warrior (MCM 10), Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5, and staff from Mine Countermeasures Squadron (COMCMCRON) 7.

The diverse set of mine countermeasures assets executed a broad range of mine neutralization activities. The participating EOD assets aboard the JMSDF Uraga class minesweeper tender JS Bungo (MST 464) practiced unit-level mine countermeasures tactics to include sweeping, hunting, and neutralization using remotely operated vehicles, sonar, and sweep gear.

EOD personnel conducted dive and small boat operations from JMSDF ships and US ships in support of mine countermeasures efforts.

The exercise culminated in a combined phase during which US and JMSDF personnel coordinated and communicated to clear a route for ships through a simulated minefield in one of the designated exercise areas.