LITTLE FALLS, Minn. –U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) completed Snow Crab Exercise (Snow Crab Ex) 23-1 this week following the departure of U.S Navy EOD units and Navy Divers at Camp Ripley in Little Falls, Minnesota.

During the two-week exercise, U.S. Navy EOD tested and evaluated operating in a simulated Arctic environment.

“Navy EOD and Navy Divers clear explosive hazards and underwater obstacles to enable access in (typically) denied areas for the U.S. Navy Fleet,” said Capt. Chuck Eckhart, commander, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2, “so it’s important we continue to train and evolve our capabilities. Snow Crab Ex trained Navy EOD and Navy Divers forces to better operate and survive in the challenging Arctic environment.”

U.S. Navy forces must be able to operate in the Arctic due to “rapidly melting sea ice and increasingly navigable waters”, according to the Department of the Navy’s Strategic Blueprint for the Arctic.

Several Navy EOD units of action participated in Snow Crab Ex, including Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 12, which exercised tactical control over Navy EOD from EODMU 2, Navy Divers from Mobile Dive and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2, as well as Sailors from EOD Expeditionary Support Unit (EODESU) 2 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2.

“During Snow Crab Ex, we put our people and our gear to the test,” said Cmdr. David Scherr, commander, EODMU 12. “The Arctic presents challenging conditions, and lessons learned from Snow Crab Ex will help these Navy EOD teams operate quickly and efficiently anywhere with cold weather.”

All participating units completed Arctic mobility and survival training to ensure they could effectively operate in cold-weather conditions. Navy EOD cleared simulated unexploded ordnance, secured critical infrastructure, and effectively communicated between distributed operating units in a training environment. Navy Divers successfully completed ice dive training to ensure they can complete dive and salvage operations in Arctic waters.

Camp Ripley and the Minnesota National Guard provided ideal conditions and training areas to simulate an Arctic environment for ice and cold weather dive training, where Navy divers can train in a subzero temperature and arduous conditions at training ranges.

EODMU 2, EODMU 12, EODESU 2, and MDSU 2 are headquartered at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story under EODGRU 2. EODGRU 2 operates as part of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and EODGRU 2 provides skilled, capable, and combat-ready deployable Navy EOD and Navy Diver forces around the globe to support a range of operations.

By Lt Brittany Stephens, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two

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