Army divers aid de-mining

| August 15, 2014 | 0 Comments
Divers on a boat

KOH RONG, Cambodia — 1st Sgt. David Chebahtah (left) and Staff Sgt. Bill Behr (right), both divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 65th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, supervise two members of the Cambodian Mine Action Center diver team as they prepare to enter the water during the final phase of open-water training, held during a 36-day event, here, focused on building the Cambodians’ in-water confidence as well as establishing their basic unit sustainment programs.

 

Staff Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
KOH RONG, Cambodia — The remnants of war still exist throughout the Pacific theater’s waterways.
Unexploded ordnance and sunken munitions line the rivers and streams frequently traveled by military and civilian alike.
Nearly a year ago, Army divers from the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment (EDD), 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, equipped, trained and certified Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) divers on military diving protocol and salvage diving
operations.

Divers underwater in blackout masks

Photo courtesy 7th Engineer Dive Detachment; 65th Eng. Battalion; 130th Eng. Brigade; 8th Theater Sustainment Command
Two divers with the CMAC descend into the water with blacked-out masks to simulate zero-visibility conditions. The training focused on building the Cambodians’ in-water confidence and establishing their basic unit sustainment programs.

This year, Army divers are back in Cambodia as the ongoing partnership between the two nations continues.
“This is the second phase of our training with the CMAC dive team,” said Capt. Robert Meyer, the commander of the 7th. “This 36-day event focused on building their in-water confidence, as well as establishing their basic unit sustainment programs.”
After the U.S. trainers covered diving physiology, dive medicine and troop leading procedures, the team culminated the training with a two-day exercise that challenged not only the CMAC divers’ underwater searching and recovery proficiency, but also incorporated aspects of their bomb disposal training.
“Many of Cambodia’s waterways hold sunken ordnance from past conflicts, which greatly endanger the local population,” said Meyer. “Providing this training and building, the CMAC dive team capability is a significant step towards removing these dangerous devices and ensuring safer living conditions for the people of Cambodia.”
Both countries benefited from the training. The 7th EDD was able to revisit training techniques and interact with a culture foreign to them, while the CMAC divers continued to build upon a program that replicates U.S. military diving standards.
“Overall, this has been a really great experience,” said Pfc. Lincoln Howell, 2nd class diver, 7th EDD. “This training has really challenged me to know my craft well. We’re having to use different teaching techniques and break down the language barrier, which sometimes requires creativity on the spot and a lot of patience.”
The mission in Cambodia supporting CMAC has enduring effects and will ultimately help save lives.
“My team considers it a true honor to train and develop the professional members of the CMAC dive team,” Meyer said.

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Category: News, Training

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