303rd EOD experts enhance relations, share capabilities with Japan

| February 2, 2017 | 0 Comments
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii- Staff Sgt. Michael Walker (left) and Spc. Tyler Robertson (right), team members with the 65th Ordnance Disposal Company, 303rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion (EOD), 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, help a member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force into a bomb suit during a subject matter expert exchange held Jan. 25-26, here. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill, 8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii- Staff Sgt. Michael Walker (left) and Spc. Tyler Robertson (right), team members with the 65th Ordnance Disposal Company, 303rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion (EOD), 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, help a member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force into a bomb suit during a subject matter expert exchange held Jan. 25-26, here.

Story and photos by
Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill
8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs
8th Theater Sustainment Command

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Explosive ordnance disposal specialists are the Army’s foremost tactical and technical explosives experts who are trained and equipped to safely defeat and exploit unexploded ordnance (UXO), improvised explosive devices (IED) and weapons of mass destruction.

They are the subject matter experts of their field and render aid whenever they are called upon.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii- Members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force watch as one of their own does push-ups while wearing a bomb suit during a subject matter expert exchange hosted by the 65th Ordnance Disposal Company, 303rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion (EOD), 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Jan. 25-26, here. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill, 8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii- Members of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force watch as one of their own does push-ups while wearing a bomb suit during a subject matter expert exchange hosted by the 65th Ordnance Disposal Company, 303rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion (EOD), 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Jan. 25-26, here. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill, 8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

However, it was a mission of partnership and readiness that members from the 65th Ordnance Disposal Company, 303rd EOD Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, were asked to support, as they hosted a subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) with Soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), Jan. 25-26, here.

With Japan hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Summer Olympics, the JGSDF seized the opportunity to expand their current doctrine to counter IEDs (C-IEDs) to better support their regional law enforcement.

In order to better understand some of the capabilities and techniques used by U.S. Army EOD teams, a SMEE was coordinated between the two nations.

“We are showing them what we do, so that way, they have a better understanding on how they want to set up their own team,” explained Spc. Tyler Robertson, team member, 65th OD Co.

Showcasing equipment and several tools employed by U.S. Army EOD teams, the 65th OD Co. team demonstrated the capabilities of a few robots, as well as the equipment used to X-ray IEDs.

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii- Platoon Leader, 1Lt. Caitlin Martin, 65th Ordnance Disposal Company, 303rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion (EOD), 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, explains how to operate the computer system which controls a robot to a member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during a subject matter expert exchange held Jan. 25-26, here. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill, 8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii- Platoon Leader, 1Lt. Caitlin Martin, 65th Ordnance Disposal Company, 303rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion (EOD), 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, explains how to operate the computer system which controls a robot to a member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force during a subject matter expert exchange held Jan. 25-26, here. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Taresha Hill, 8th Military Police Brigade Public Affairs, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

While Staff Sgt. Michael Walker, team leader, 65th OD Co. showed how to set up and use the X-ray equipment, he also stressed the importance of safety.

“There are so many different scenarios the bad guys can employ to make IEDs that I also wanted to stress some of the safety parameters we use as well,” said Walker.

In addition to sharing capabilities, another benefit to the exchange was learning how each nation operates.

“The more knowledgeable we are about each other’s capabilities, the better we can assist each other in a more efficient manner,” said Walker.

The current U.S.-Japan relationship is the deep-rooted mutual trust, friendship, support and cooperation between our two countries. Training like this is a key example of supporting Japan’s increased capabilities, enhancing their ability to contribute to regional security and stability.

Despite having only two days to conduct the SMEE, 1st Lt. Caitlin Martin, platoon leader, 65th OD Co. said that she really enjoyed the experience.

“I love having any opportunity to work with partner nations,” said Martin. “They (Japan) are one of our strongest partner nations in the Pacific, so it was a wonderful opportunity.”

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