Explosive Ordinance (EOD) divers from both U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) navies exit an MH-53E Sea Dragon assigned to the Vanguards of Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 14, Detachment 2A during the annual Multinational Mine Warfare Exercise (MN MIWEX). MN MIWEX is a mine countermeasures exercise between the U.S., Republic of Korea, and U.N. Command Sending States meant to increase combined capabilities and readiness to respond to any contingency on the Korean peninsula. (Photo by Seaman William Carlisle)
BUSAN, Republic of Korea -- Maritime forces from the U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) successfully completed the Multinational Mine Warfare Exercise (MN MIWEX), Oct. 22.
USS Chief (MCM 14), staff from Mine Countermeasures Squadron (MCMRON) 7, and Mine Countermeasures Helicopter Squadron (HM) 14 Detachment 2A participated in MIWEX with Republic of Korea (ROK) counterparts and members of United Nations Command Sending States to increase mine countermeasure interoperability and tactical proficiency.
The exercise spanned over a week and included a multitude of training drills designed to improve cooperation and proficiencies in mine countermeasures operations.
HM-14 conducted over 57 hours of flight operations, which included Q-24B mine hunting, with explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) helo casting with partner forces, and deck landing qualifications on ROK Navy ships.
"Not only was our squadron able to demonstrate the mission readiness of the MH-53E Sea Dragon and its newly-acquired Q-24B mine hunting platform, but also our ability to conduct the complex airborne mine countermeasures (AMCM) mission during high-tempo operations with our partners," said Lt. Cmdr. Jeremy Braun, officer-in-charge of HM-14 Det 2A. "Our flight crews demonstrated their expertise by executing the mission during challenging weather and successfully finding our target mine shapes. It's a testament to the robust capabilities of the aircraft and the dedication of our maintainers and MCM support crews."
During the exercise the Chief focused on mine hunting operations using sonar radars. Once Sailors detected the mine they would deploy a mine neutralization vehicle (MNV) to simulate delivering an explosive that would neutralize the mine.
The ship experience heightened sea states at various points in the exercise but remained focused on the mission.
"It was my first mine warfare exercise as LPO [leading petty officer] and it really taught me the importance of planning and being ready," said Mineman 2nd Class Denton Walker, combat information center LPO, USS Chief. "The environment provided extra challenges but the whole team came together to keep the mission running."
This year marked the 64th anniversary of the U.S.-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty, which serves as the foundation of our alliance and a force for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.