By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathleen Gorby
PUERTO BARRIOS, Guatemala (NNS) -- U.S. Navy Diver and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician training teams completed their third stop of the SPS-JHSV 15 mission Sept. 14 in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala.
The mission inlcuded an Adaptive Force Package (AFP) aboard the joint high-speed vessel USNS Spearhead (EPF 1), operated by the Military Sealift Command.
The SPS-JHSV 15 mission to the region exemplifies U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command's commitment to cooperative partnerships in the Caribbean, Central and South America.
While ashore in Guatemala, Navy Divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Company 3-1 from Explosive Ordnance Dispoal Mobile Unit 3 (EODMU3) and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technicians from Platoon 642, EODMU6 provided training and conducted Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEEs) with their counterparts to build partner nation's capabilities to counter illicit trafficking.
The first few days of training were spent assessing the capabilities of the Guatemalan divers. In Guatemala, diving is a secondary job that is done only when the situation arises. This gives them very little opportunity to practice the basics of diving and remaining proficient.
"The Guatemalan Navy has a relatively high rate of turn-over," said Lt. Sean McSwain from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion and the AFP operations officer. "Many Sailors only serve for a few years, so it's hard keeping a consistent base line of training with eve-revolving Sailors."
Navy Diver 1st Class Joseph Olin of Mobile Diving and Salvage Company 3-1 from EODMU3, stationed in San Diego, said the Guatemalan divers were eager to learn our diving techniques.
"We started in the pool reviewing basic diving procedures and practiced different searching methods," said Olin. "By the end of our time in Guatemala, we were conducing searches off a pier in open water."
According to Olin, the Guatemalan divers were fast learners and grasped the different techniques.
"We emphasized the importance of the basics, such as fitness and diving fundamentals," said Olin. "Hopefully they will be able to continue with what we taught them and pass it on to new divers."
The AFP traveled to Honduras, Belize, and Guatemala and is heading to their last stop in Colombia. The deployment mission ends in mid-October.
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.