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August 16, 2012
SPECIAL LIFTOUT ON RIMPAC
'' -- LCDR BRETT DAWE
We get to see how other nations operate
and from that we can get some really good
CAPT Sarah Vesey
CLEARANCE divers played a key role
in Hawaii and on the US mainland at
Their focus was mine countermeasures
and this year saw the largest capacity ever
deployed by Australia on RIMPAC.
During the exercise, the 84-strong dive
contingent was responsible for the con-
duct of underwater mine counter-measures,
explosive ordnance disposal and harbour
CMDR Doug Griffiths spent RIMPAC
in San Diego where he was in charge of
a multinational force of 500 people
with divers from the US, Canada, the
Netherlands, Chile and NZ.
"The reason to deploy to San Diego and
not Hawaii was based on the availability of
assets and the quality of the training area
available", CMDR Griffiths said.
"Hawaii doesn't have the same exten-
sive mine counter-measure ranges that San
AUSCDT-4 took full advantage of the
training facilities and car ried out maritime
advanced force operations in very shallow
In another RIMPAC first, the team also
used an autonomous under water vehicle.
The San Diego training combined air,
surface and underwater elements into the
One evolution involved the Australians
jumping from a US helicopter.
CMDR Griffiths said the 'pouncer' activ-
ity was a rare opportunity for his team.
"The divers concentrated on the entry
into the water," he said.
"It's important to land cor rectly as the
job of the diver is not finished upon entry.
Normally they would be proceeding direct-
ly to a f loating mine and disposing of it."
In Hawaii, AUSCDT-1 helped clear Pearl
Harbor of mines and unexploded ordnance
to give safe access to the Country Green
Operating off the Japanese ship Bungo as
the advanced force, the multinational under-
water mine counter-measures task unit com-
prised of Australians, Japanese and New
LCDR Brett Dawe said the training value
the team got from working in the multina-
tional environment couldn't be underesti-
"RIMPAC is an opportunity to
work in a challenging training envi-
ronment and we get to see how
other nations operate and from
that we can get some really good
learning points," LCDR Dawe
The maritime environment
in Pearl Harbor presented its
own particular challenges and prov
ed challenges to the dive teams who
were often working with multination-
al partners whose first language was
"The exercise gave us a chance to
be employed how we would in real-
time operations and coming together
at RIMPAC shows us how we can work
with other nations and be an effective
force," he said.
Ten members from AUSCDT-1 and
AUSCDT-4 also visited one of the mos
revered war graves, battleship row in
ABCD Ronan Gallagher said th
visit was a unique opportunity an
RIMPAC gave him and his fellow diver s
better knowledge of how their American
counterparts did business.
"Just to see how they operate and how
differently they do things will help us to
better ou rselves," he said.
KEY ROLE: Divers
prepare to lift a
simulated mine to the
surface in an operation
at Pearl Harbor.
Photo: CPL Christopher
ON OPS: A member of AUSCDT-4 jumps from a US
Navy MH 53 (top) as part of a pouncer counter mine
insertion operation. While other AUSCDT-4 personnel
swim ashore (above) during swimmer scout drills in
San Diego, California.
advanced force operations in very shallow
water -- a major challenge for any clear-
READY: ABCD Scott Mcintyre prepares to dive
during a raise, tow and beach operation of a mine
in Pearl Harbor.
Photo: CPL Christopher Dickson
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