U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) deployable specialized forces (DSF) and Canadian explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians trained for maritime interdiction operations during the opening events of the force integration training (FIT) phase of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Southern California (SOCAL).
This year marks the first time that the USCG Maritime Security Response Team–West (MSRT-W) has participated in RIMPAC.
Both MSRT-W DSFs and EOD technicians partnered in the training event under the umbrella of Commander Task Force (CTF) 177, RIMPAC’s mine warfare commander. Assigned participants in the training came from the MSRT-W and the Royal Canadian Navy’s Fleet Diving Unit Pacific. MSRT-W is headquartered in San Diego, California, and Fleet Diving Unit Pacific is headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
The focus of the daylong event was for the teams to observe and train alongside one another during maritime interdiction operations while boarding a training vessel identified as both high-value and high-threat that was assessed to be carrying improvised explosive devices. The added capability provided by the EOD technicians laid the groundwork for successful future operations where additional EOD expertise is required.
“We work closely with a variety of federal law enforcement and other government agencies on a regular basis,” said USCG Maritime Enforcement Specialist Senior Chief Richard Young, MSRT-W’s operations chief. “Routinely, we get aboard the vessel, gain positive control, and ensure the vessel is safe prior to turning over custody to another agency or technical unit like EOD techs. Our training today helped us observe and integrate with our Canadian EOD partners to make sure our tactics, techniques, and procedures are aligned before we move into the next phase of the RIMPAC SOCAL exercise.”
MSRT-W began operations in 2017 and the command’s mission is to provide the nation with highly specialized and maritime-dedicated tactical teams able to support both homeland security and national defense operations.
Commander Task Force 177 (CTF 177) is the RIMPAC 2018 Mine Warfare (MIW) Commander, operating in the RIMPAC Southern California (SOCAL) operating area (OPAREA). Its mission is to integrate and train in the SOCAL operations area and to conduct mine warfare (MIW) and maritime security operations (MSO) to deter aggression and promote freedom of navigation and stability. CTF 177 is comprised of 26 units with approximately 1,100 personnel representing seven countries (United States, New Zealand, Australia, England, Canada, Japan, and the Netherlands).