Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians assigned to EOD Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) conducted IWOTO 2019, a mine counter measure exercise (MINEX) June 10-22 on the island of Iwo To, Japan.
JSMDF Mine Warfare Force (MWF) executes IWOTO, the largest live MINEX in the Pacific, every year in Iwo To, formerly known as Iwo Jima, but this is the first time a U.S. Navy EOD platoon has been invited to actively participate in the exercise. In the past, the U.S. Navy EOD Sailors only observed the exercise.
“IWOTO 2019 represents a significant development in the U.S. Navy’s ability to train and interoperate with our JMSDF allies,” said Capt. Jim Hartman, U.S. Liaison Officer to the JMSDF stationed at the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo, Japan. “The JMSDF has been very good at mine countermeasure operations for many decades, and this is a critical capability to have in the region. The ability of the U.S. Navy to conduct mine countermeasures seamlessly alongside the JMSDF is of strategic importance.”