NEWPORT, R.I. - Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit Two Detachment, Newport participated in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) demonstration at the Naval War College (NWC) on April 15.
The Navy EOD team demonstrated computerized robots and displayed bomb suits and explosive high-tech equipment during the mock exercise. Guests from the Middletown and Newport police departments as well as students, staff and faculty at NWC observed the demonstration.
“These exercises are part of the ongoing initiative of building strong relationships between the Navy, law enforcement and local communities,” said Lt. Cmdr. Oscar Rojas, who is a Navy EOD officer and NWC student. “Our police departments provide legal jurisdictional authority and security for us when we’re called for EOD stateside assistance. Whenever necessary, they also work to keep the local population informed of any potentially dangerous situations as well as the EOD team’s role in eliminating IED threats.”
The Middletown and Newport police benefit significantly from working hand-in-hand with the Navy EOD team. The detachment provides services to all Department of Defense installations in the New England area and western N.Y. state. It frequently provides assistance to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to include United States Secret Service and the Department of State for VIP protection.
“It’s a great advantage for local law enforcement to tap into the resources of NAVSTA (Naval Station Newport) EOD,” said Middletown Chief of Police Anthony Pesare. “Our department doesn’t have a bomb unit, so the EOD can function in that capacity for us.”
Patrolman Rob Salter, a team leader of Newport’s Special Response Team, echoed his colleague’s sentiments.
“Both local police departments will continue to nurture their strong association with NAVSTA EOD by participating in ongoing emergency training exercises in the future,” Salter said. “Lt. Cmdr. Rojas and the EOD detachment team should be applauded for their dedicated efforts.”
Rojas, who has served as an EOD officer in the Navy for the past 10 years throughout the Central, Pacific and European Commands, also explained the critical need of EOD teams in saving lives.
“First, immediate EOD response mitigates the threat to both military forces and local civilian populations in combat zones across the globe,” Rojas said. “Second, by using a robot to investigate an IED, we take the first responder away from immediate danger. A robot is disposable, a human life is not.”
The mission of the EOD detachment is to identify, render safe, and dispose of all hazardous explosive ordnance items including conventional, chemical/biological weapons and improvised explosive devices. They also perform diving and demolition operations.
Teaching and demonstrating these new technologies also brings a real-life focus to classroom instruction at the Naval War College.
“The philosophy of this elective is to make it real through guest speakers, demonstrations and displays of EOD hardware and technology,” said Professor John Jackson, who teaches the “Unmanned Systems and Conflict in the 21st Century” elective at the Naval War College. “IEDs have killed more Americans in Iraq than any other hostile activity, and these devices have become increasingly sophisticated in how they’re remotely detonated. It’s essential for our students to visualize how a robot is utilized from a stand-off distance to safely ascertain and disable a real threat.”
The NAVSTA EOD team plan to hold additional demonstrations at the college in cooperation with local law enforcement. The detachment is a shore detachment of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit TWO, Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Va., and is under the operational control of Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic (Public Safety).
By David Reese, NWC Public Affairs