Divers from the U.S. Navy’s (USN) Underwater Construction Team TWO (UCT 2 ) Construction Diving Detachment ALFA (CDD/A), Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit ONE (MDSU-1), and the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) Underwater Construction Team (UCT) completed the first-ever Multinational Underwater Repair Exercise (MUREX) from December 16 – 23, 2021 in Apra Harbor, Guam. MUREX is designed to develop interoperability in underwater construction operations, build diving expertise, and foster comradery between the USN and ROKN. The training covered multiple events in and around Apra Harbor, Guam with participants completing Surface Supplied Diving (SSD), underwater hydraulic tool use, underwater cutting and welding, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCUBA) diving, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations, and hydrographic surveys. Specific projects during the exercise included: installing zinc anodes on a harbor quay wall, conducting topside and underwater waterfront facilities inspections, cutting and removal of harbor obstacles, and completing hydrographic surveys.
The ROKN UCT provided a translator to ensure safe diving operations, facilitate classroom training, and foster interpersonal conversations. Despite the language barrier, the team quickly came together upon arrival, with military diving operations as a common language and both countries having a long-standing close relationship. While this was not the first exercise between the ROKN UCT and UCT-2, it marked the first time the ROKN UCT traveled to a U.S. territory to complete training. Between the two countries, 32 personnel participated in MUREX 2021, with 17 from the ROKN UCT, ten from UCT-2, and five from MDSU-1. Throughout the exercise, the team recorded 16 dives with a total bottom time of 757 minutes (12.6 hours).
Conducting an exercise like MUREX allows divers from different countries and units to work together, train on new types of systems, expand mission capabilities, and build trust to prepare for possible Joint missions during Major Combat Operations (MCO). The success of MUREX 2021 has paved the way for future iterations of the exercise and further strengthened the relationship between the ROKN and USN.
UCT-2, homeported in Port Hueneme, CA, provides a capability for underwater construction, inspection, repair, and maintenance of waterfront and ocean facilities to enable distributed maritime operations for the Navy and Marine Corps across the Pacific region. UCT-2 is an Echelon V ashore command assigned under administrative and operational control of Naval Construction Group ONE (NCG 1) in homeport, and under the operational control of fleet commanders when forward deployed.