US Navy Divers Support ROK Ship Recovery
Sailors of Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1, based out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 Platoon 501 based out of Sasebo, Japan, are diving in the Yellow Sea in support of the recovery and salvage of the Republic of Korea Ship (ROK) Cheonan.
"We're here to offer all the help we can. We're ready to step in anytime and dive or assist hands-on in any way we can," said Navy Diver 3rd Class Andrew Kornelsen, a Madison, Wis., native. "I've been training for something like this for over two years."
Navy Diver 1st Class (DSW) Quentin Felderman, assistant lead petty officer for MDSU-1, explained the challenging nature of the dives.
"We found out the current is rougher than we expected, and we're learning to work with the EOD guys. But we've been preparing for this for a while now, and we're working together well."
On April 9, five ROK divers from the Sea Salvage and Rescue Unit (SSU) came aboard the Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52) to perform joint diving operations. Felderman explained the benefits of working face-to-face with their counterparts.
"We get to learn about how they do things, and there's a lot both sides can learn. Their techniques are different than ours. They do scuba dives almost exclusively, and we do surface-supply dives," Felderman said.
ROK Chief Jong Suk Kang, an SSU diver, expressed his appreciation for the ability to work with MDSU-1.
"I have done many dives, but I have worked with the U.S. divers only once before. I am glad to have them to help with our diving," he said.
MDSU-1, EODMU-5 Platoon 501, USNS Salvor, USS Harpers Ferry, USS Curtis Wilbur and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 Detachment 6 are currently supporting ROK salvage efforts at the site under the direction of on-scene commander for US support, Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, Commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet.