Their work comes from more than deck-plate leadership, Unruh said, speaking with Seapower by phone
April 26 from Bahrain.
“We really are getting these innovative guys that
are coming up with solutions by themselves and doing
what probably it would take engineers and program
offices years and millions of dollars to design. They are
doing it on their own, which is pretty neat,” he said.
Such innovative thinking and creative, yet simple,
solutions reflect the expeditionary nature of the unit.
This is the third rotation for the EXMCM company
construct to Fifth Fleet, assigned to Commander, Task
Group 56. 1. It is a relatively new concept, said Unruh,
who is on his second operational deployment to the
Persian Gulf region.
“The demand signal came from Fifth Fleet, and we
had a company deployed within a year,” he said.
The company joined with more than 3,000 personnel
from 30-plus countries who took part in International
MCM Exercise 2016, hosted by U.S. Naval Forces Central
Command (NAVCENT). The largest multilateral mari-
time exercise, which focused on keeping sea lanes safe
and open, ran April 4-26 and included training events
encompassing maritime security, mine countermeasures,
diving and small boat operations, as well as port clearance
and operations. It also served as a chance for the navies
to exchange ideas and showcase new technologies and
innovations, even deck-plate ideas like the Mallard.
This year’s exercise “raised the bar in terms of
reality, not in terms of some arbitrary metric, but in
terms of real-world value,” Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan,
NAVCENT’s commander, said in a Navy News story.
“You couldn’t just show up and declare success. You
actually had to get in the water.”
The undersea world definitely has the attention from
the top. While visiting San Diego in February and speak-
ing with an Aegis cruiser crew, Defense Secretary Ashton
Carter said the department plans to spend $600 million
in unmanned underwater systems, a sizable investment
and “a new capability you’ll be seeing a lot of.”
11 WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / JUNE 2016
Electronics Technician 2nd Class Alex Wade, assigned to Commander, Task Group (CTG) 56. 1, recovers an unmanned
underwater vehicle (UUV) during training operations using the MK18 Mod 2 UUV Oct. 20 in the Arabian Gulf. The MK18
Mod 2 uses side-scan sonar to search and discover objects of interest. CTG 56. 1 conducts mine countermeasures, explosive ordnance disposal, salvage diving and force protection operations throughout the U.S. Fifth Fleet area of operations.