Army divers aid in Cambodia de-mining
August 13, 2014
KOH RONG, Cambodia (Aug. 13, 2014) -- 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 the military and civilians alike.
Nearly a year ago, Army divers from the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, certified equipped, trained and certified Cambodian Mine Action Center, or CMAC, divers on military diving protocol and salvage diving operations.
This year the U.S. Army divers are back in Cambodia, as the on-going 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. The final exercise 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 endangers the local population," said Meyer. "Providing this training and building the CMAC dive team capability is a significant step toward 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, a second class diver with the 7th EDD. "This training has really challenged me to know my craft well. We have 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.