THREE Royal Navy explosives experts are the latest weapon in the fight against deadly roadside bombs in Afghanistan.
Chief Petty Officer, diver Kevin Amaira, Petty Officer Simon Crew and a Leading Seaman diver – who cannot be named for security reasons – will spend six months backing the British Army by training Afghan forces in bomb disposal.
It is the latest step towards transferring combat duties to the Afghan security forces ahead of British and US troops withdrawing from the country.
Chief Petty Officer Amaira, 44, will mentor the Afghan National Security Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams and deploy with them on patrol.
The married dad-of-two, who has served in the Royal Navy since 1983, said: ‘The main role in Afghanistan is now training and maintaining the Afghan forces
‘We will be going out there to train their army in Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and Explosive Ordnance Devices (EOD).
‘After the first three months we will be moving out into the field and training them operationally.
‘Because IEDs are so horrific everyone needs to know how to deal with them, how to avoid them and how to make the job easier for representing forces, so we will teach them all sorts of things – detection, marking, avoidance and destruction or exploitation.’
He added: ‘You can’t help but see all the pictures of soldiers getting blown up on a daily basis and want to do something to help.’
The leading seaman diver will work on the front line with the army’s Royal Logistics Corps.
He is the first member of Royal Navy personnel to complete the intensive high threat Improvised Explosive Device Disposal course and will be deployed with the RAF or army in a specialist IED team.
Petty Officer Simon Crew, 36, will work with the Coalition Force Training Team in Camp Bastion.
The married dad-of-two has served in the Royal Navy for 20 years.
He said: ‘Out of 12 months I probably spend about six months training.
‘To pass that on to somebody on the ground in the amount of time we have is going to be quite difficult.
‘There are set procedures – how to react against an IED threat, which is massive out there, from going out on patrol to reading signs in the ground, how not to go through choke points or take obvious risks.
‘It’s a standing joke as to why the navy are sending a diver to the desert do it, but we are tri-service trained.’
The trio are set to be deployed later this month.