Military News

Monday, August 24, 2015

Southern Partnership Station-Joint High Speed Vessel 2015 (SPS-JHSV 15) Completes Mission in Belize



By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathleen A. Gorby

BIG CREEK, Belize (NNS) -- U.S. Navy Diver and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician training teams completed their second stop of the SPS-JHSV 15 mission Aug. 21 in Big Creek, Belize as part of the Adaptive Force Package (AFP) onboard USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), operated by the Military Sealift Command.

USNS Spearhead is deployed in support of SPS-JHSV 15, a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored deployment focusing on enhancing cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services and improving operational readiness for all participating services. In addition, SPS-JHSV 15 provides the opportunity for U.S and partner nation forces to operate in the multinational environment, refine coordination, improve interoperability and demonstrate flexibility.

While ashore in Belize, Navy Divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Company 3-1 from EODMU 3 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians from Platoon 642, EODMU6 provided training and conducted subject matter expert exchanges (SMEEs) with their counterparts to increase partner nation's capabilities to counter illicit trafficking and deal with explosive ordnance disposal.

Ensign Adam Pierce, AFP EOD officer in charge from Platoon 642, EODMU6 said they accomplished an incredible amount of work, fostering shared interests and values in the short period of time there.

"During our two and a half weeks in Belize we were able to conduct five days of demolition operations, including two days of an ordnance disposal operation," said Pierce.

"This operation included the explosive disposal of nine 81-mm mortar rounds, which were no longer serviceable and provided a safety hazard to the ammunition storage point in Hattieville. Additionally, we conducted diving familiarization training which directly improved the maritime safety capabilities of Belize Coast Guard (BCG) and Belize Defense Force (BDF)."

SPS-JHSV 15's mission to the region exemplifies the U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command commitment to cooperative partnerships in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

Master Diver and Senior Chief Navy Diver Michael Hunt is the leading Chief Petty Officer of Mobile Diving and Salvage Company 3-1 from EODMU 3, stationed in San Diego.

"The BDF and BCG are both extremely professional military units and we were privileged to work with them," said Hunt. "The culminating event of the engagement was an afternoon luncheon at a local nature preserve, which included an exchange of personalized plaques. We look forward for the opportunity to work with them in the future."

The AFP traveled to Honduras and is heading to Guatemala and Colombia next.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to counter illicit trafficking, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

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