U.S. Sailors, Kenyan Soldiers Partner During Humanitarian Mine Action Program

NAIROBI, Kenya - An explosion forms after Kenyan Army explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) trainees detonate several pieces of ordnance during a controlled detonation May 17, 2011 at the Kenyan Ministry of Defense Stony-Athi Range outside Nairobi, Kenya. Several EOD Mobile Unit 11 experts assigned to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa participated in a three-week Humanitarian Mine Action Program and exchanged best practices on safely removing land mines and other explosive remnants of war with Kenyan Army soldiers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant R.J. Biermann) CJTF-HOA Photo NAIROBI, Kenya - An explosion forms after Kenyan Army explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) trainees detonate several pieces of ordnance during a controlled detonation May 17, 2011 at the Kenyan Ministry of Defense Stony-Athi Range outside Nairobi, Kenya. Several EOD Mobile Unit 11 experts assigned to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa participated in a three-week Humanitarian Mine Action Program and exchanged best practices on safely removing land mines and other explosive remnants of war with Kenyan Army soldiers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant R.J. Biermann)
NAIROBI, Kenya - Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Ryan Donofrio, U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 (EODMU-11), and Kenyan Army Lance Corporal Tajeu Olomunyak, EOD trainee, practice proper explosive disposal May 17, 2011 at the Kenyan Ministry of Defense Stony-Athi Range outside Nairobi, Kenya. Several members of EODMU-11, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, shared best practices with their Kenyan counterparts regarding the safe disposal of explosive remnants during a three-week Humanitarian Mine Action Program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant R.J. Biermann) CJTF-HOA Photo NAIROBI, Kenya - Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Ryan Donofrio, U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 (EODMU-11), and Kenyan Army Lance Corporal Tajeu Olomunyak, EOD trainee, practice proper explosive disposal May 17, 2011 at the Kenyan Ministry of Defense Stony-Athi Range outside Nairobi, Kenya. Several members of EODMU-11, assigned to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, shared best practices with their Kenyan counterparts regarding the safe disposal of explosive remnants during a three-week Humanitarian Mine Action Program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant R.J. Biermann)
NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenyan Army Corporal Simon Ndungu, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) trainee, practices explosive ordnance disposal procedures before a controlled detonation May 17, 2011, at the Kenyan Ministry of Defense Stony-Athi Range outside Nairobi, Kenya. Several members from EOD Mobile Unit 11, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, were invited by the Kenyan government to partner with their Kenyan counterparts for a three-week Humanitarian Mine Action Program where they concentrated on safely removing land mines and explosive remnants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant R.J. Biermann) CJTF-HOA Photo NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenyan Army Corporal Simon Ndungu, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) trainee, practices explosive ordnance disposal procedures before a controlled detonation May 17, 2011, at the Kenyan Ministry of Defense Stony-Athi Range outside Nairobi, Kenya. Several members from EOD Mobile Unit 11, Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, were invited by the Kenyan government to partner with their Kenyan counterparts for a three-week Humanitarian Mine Action Program where they concentrated on safely removing land mines and explosive remnants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant R.J. Biermann)
NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenyan Army Sergeant Hussein Abdullai, an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) trainee, examines a piece of explosive ordnance during a practice reconnaissance exercise May 18, 2011 at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Nairobi, Kenya. Several members from EOD Mobile Unit 11 assigned to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa visited Kenya for a three-week Humanitarian Mine Action Program to share best practices on ways to safely remove land mines and explosive remnants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant R.J. Biermann) CJTF-HOA Photo NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenyan Army Sergeant Hussein Abdullai, an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) trainee, examines a piece of explosive ordnance during a practice reconnaissance exercise May 18, 2011 at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Nairobi, Kenya. Several members from EOD Mobile Unit 11 assigned to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa visited Kenya for a three-week Humanitarian Mine Action Program to share best practices on ways to safely remove land mines and explosive remnants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant R.J. Biermann)
NAIROBI, Kenya - U.S. Navy Lieutenant Jon Maurus, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 (EODMU-11) officer in charge assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), discusses the features of a piece of explosive ordnance with several Kenyan Army soldiers May 18, 2011 at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Nairobi, Kenya. Several members from EODMU-11 assigned to CJTF-HOA visited Kenya for a three-week Humanitarian Mine Action Program to share best practices on ways to safely remove land mines and explosive remnants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant R.J. Biermann) CJTF-HOA Photo NAIROBI, Kenya - U.S. Navy Lieutenant Jon Maurus, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 (EODMU-11) officer in charge assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), discusses the features of a piece of explosive ordnance with several Kenyan Army soldiers May 18, 2011 at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Nairobi, Kenya. Several members from EODMU-11 assigned to CJTF-HOA visited Kenya for a three-week Humanitarian Mine Action Program to share best practices on ways to safely remove land mines and explosive remnants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant R.J. Biermann)
NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenyan Army Senior Sergeant Ernest Ogweno, an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) instructor, shares closing thoughts during a Humanitarian Mine Action Program (HMAP) commencement ceremony May 20, 2011 at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Nairobi, Kenya. Several members from EOD Mobile Unit 11 assigned to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa visited Kenya for the three-week HMAP to share best practices on ways to safely remove land mines and explosive remnants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant R.J. Biermann) CJTF-HOA Photo NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenyan Army Senior Sergeant Ernest Ogweno, an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) instructor, shares closing thoughts during a Humanitarian Mine Action Program (HMAP) commencement ceremony May 20, 2011 at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Nairobi, Kenya. Several members from EOD Mobile Unit 11 assigned to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa visited Kenya for the three-week HMAP to share best practices on ways to safely remove land mines and explosive remnants. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant R.J. Biermann)

U.S. sailors assigned to Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) partnered with four Kenyan Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) instructors and more than 30 trainees during a Humanitarian Mine Action Program at the Humanitarian Peace Support School (HPSS) in Nairobi, Kenya, May 18, 2011.

The three-week program allowed service members the opportunity to share best practices on safely removing land mines and explosive remnants through several classes and basic practical examinations.

"It was a productive three weeks with the Kenyan EOD and combat engineers," said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Jon Maurus, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 11 (EODMU-11) officer in charge assigned to CJTF-HOA. "We had a great opportunity to engage our partners here and share from vast experiences on both sides, with a never-ending goal of strengthening relationships and building trust between our governments."

According to Maurus, EOD technicians within the U.S. military and Kenyan Army share many of the same characteristics, which made for an easy and productive visit.

"It's nice to work with such motivated and hard-working individuals who continuously seek to increase their knowledge base for self improvement," said Maurus.

According to U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Craig Jungers, EODMU-11 technician, one such soldier was Kenyan Army Major Edwin Teka.

"Major Teka was a standout student during the three-week program," said Jungers. "He was very involved during the classroom portion and did extremely well during practical exercises."

Teka, 41, is a combat engineer in Isiolo, Kenya. He was the course's highest-ranking trainee.

"The course was very good. It has really prepared us to identify munitions for disposal," said Teka. "I wish to take my training to a level higher in the future because our army is challenged with disposing of munitions."

Kenyan soldiers put their munitions disposal skills to the test in the final week of the program during a controlled detonation at the Kenyan Ministry of Defense (KMOD) Stony-Athi Range outside Nairobi.

"The detonation allowed the Kenyan instructors to tie everything together that the students had learned over the previous two weeks into an actual real-life demolition operation," said Maurus. "It was a great success in that the students finally got to see their hard work in action."

The KMOD hosted a graduation ceremony to conclude the program. Lieutenant Colonel F.K. Kiriago, HPSS commandant, addressed the trainees and CJTF-HOA members.

"I know the time was short, but you made sure to complete the syllabus as required," said Kiriago to the trainees. "Make use of this knowledge in a positive way and put it to practice."

To CJTF-HOA members, "We sincerely thank the U.S. government for the instructors from HOA," said Kiriago. "This was a great gesture to allow you to come and partner in what we're doing."

After weeks of instruction and practice the Kenyan soldiers are ready to protect against ordnance threats, according to Maurus.

"I look forward to our next engagement not only to learn and share more, but to see our friends again," said Maurus.

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