Sailors from EODMU-5 fast rope from an MH-60S Sea Hawk aboard the Royal Canadian Navy's MV Asterix, Nov. 1. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Erwin Jacob V. Miciano)

PHILIPPINE SEA - Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5, attached to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), conducted helicopter visit, board, search and seizure (HVBSS) training with the Royal Canadian Navy ship MV Asterix and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12 as part of exercise Keen Sword, Nov. 1.

HVBSS teams are used to board vessels that are suspected of piracy or carrying illicit materials. They are trained to properly secure and search vessels in accordance with the mission.

This was a unique opportunity for all personnel involved to hone their abilities in all aspects of the mission. Pilots worked in tandem with EODMU-5 Sailors to practice placement and support of fast rope insertion techniques. Aircrewmen trained in helicopter-based rescue and recovery.

During the action, teams operated with different scenarios, including how to maneuver with a loss of communications.

“It was a good exercise, and it provided excellent training all around," said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 3rd Class Evan Staat, from Albany, N.Y. "We all executed well and no issues arose. We are all looking forward to do it again."

This event showcased the interoperability and relations between the participants in Keen Sword 2019.

Keen Sword 19 is a joint, bilateral field-training exercise involving U.S. military and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force personnel, designed to increase combat readiness and interoperability of the Japan-U.S. alliance.