In 2008, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command established Expeditionary Support Units (ESU) to support the critical needs of Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) units worldwide.
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Lt. Patrick Teague explains the capabilities provided by the Expeditionary Support Element (ESE) to Rear Adm. Jonathan Yuen. (Photo by MC2 Joshua Scott)
In its infancy, ESU faced challenges associated with standing up a new command while standardizing logistical procedures for a force operating forward at a high-paced battle rhythm. Since then, a growing demand for expeditionary forces and deployments in support of EOD forces have resulted in a very proficient cadre of logistics professionals serving in ESU.
The ESU mission is to plan, coordinate, integrate, synchronize and provide logistics support for units in homeport and forward deployed to all areas of responsibility. In order to execute this vital mission, ESU is comprised of seven departments including Supply, Medical, Administration, Materiel, Operations, Maintenance and Training. Each ESU is commanded by an operational, sea-slate Supply Corps commander with an EOD lieutenant commander filling the Executive Officer billet.
An ESU Supply Department is composed of four, second-operational tour Supply Corps officers and about 25 Logistics Specialists. They are responsible for financial management, procurement, inventory management, shipping and receiving, contract management and customer support for all EOD Mobile Units (MU), Mobile Diving and Salvage Units (MDSU), Training and Evaluation Units and EOD shore detachments for their respective areas of operation. The global responsibilities coupled with the dynamic mission of the EOD Force demands that expeditionary logisticians who serve at an ESU have a 24/7 focus on the responsibility of ensuring operators have the highest level of support to successfully execute their missions.
Logistics Specialists are responsible for managing command inventories that range from standard repair parts to EOD-specific equipment, all of which are part of a command Coordinated Shipboard Allowance Listing (COSAL) or Table of Allowance (TOA).
In addition to supporting homeport units, ESU provides forward support to deployed units in the form of an Expeditionary Support Element (ESE). ESE is a tailorable and scalable element led by a Supply Corps lieutenant, and is comprised of the following enlisted rates: LS, CM, CU, EN, EM, GM, HM, IT, ET. The size and composition of an ESE may vary based on deployment requirements. ESE is integrated into the organizational structure of the EOD unit with whom they deploy and provides a wide range of organic support, most notably logistics and maintenance support for equipment in-theater.
ESE integrates with a MU or MDSU prior to the Final Evaluation Problem (FEP) phase of a unit Fleet Response Training Plan (FRTP) cycle. During FEP, units must effectively execute scenarios they will likely face in a deployed environment to the satisfaction of NECC Expeditionary Training Group before being deemed certified for deployment.
The Supply Corps officer, who deploys as the ESE OIC serves as the N4 department head of the deployed mobile unit, is accountable for ensuring the logistics, financials, facilities, vehicle maintenance, weapons, medical care and communications
requirements are effectively executed to enhance mission objectives. Often times, ESE must overcome obstacles including customs issues in countries where there is no standing SOFA to ensure requirements entrusted to them for complex joint operations are carried out successfully. ESE personnel are the logistics subject matter experts and must interface with other Navy and DoD organizations to successfully meet mission requirements.
ESE from EODESU ONE have recently deployed to Third, Fifth and Seventh Fleets in support of EOD efforts in Operation Enduring Freedom
and Exercises Foal Eagle
, Key Resolve
and Rim of the Pacific
The ESE capability has proven to be a force-multiplier for the EOD Force. As the requirements for expeditionary logistics support continues to evolve, EODESU will remain poised to effectively meet this challenge with well trained, and highly motived, Logistics Specialists and Supply Corps officers.
By Lt. Ben Muniz, SC, USN; Stock Control Officer, EOD Expeditionary Support Unit ONE