An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News Stories
Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC)

Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Concludes Arctic Training Exercise Snow Crab Ex

by Lt. Chelsea Cannaday, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two Public Affairs
06 February 2024 LITTLE FALLS, Minn. – U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 completed Snow Crab Exercise (Snow Crab Ex) 24-1 Feb. 4, 2024 following the departure of Navy EOD units and Navy Divers at Camp Ripley in Little Falls, Minnesota.

Snow Crab Ex is a two-week exercise designed to test and evaluate U.S. Navy EOD capabilities in a simulated Arctic environment and, ultimately, improve Navy EOD’s combat effectiveness. During the exercise, U.S. Navy EOD and Divers tested, evaluated, and refined tactics, equipment and operations in an austere environment.

“The Arctic region is undergoing a dramatic transformation, and our Navy EOD, diving and salvage forces are trained and prepared to deploy globally to support of the Fleet commanders. To this end, the EOD force will continue to develop and evolve our capabilities to contribute to U.S. national security in competition and conflict,” said Capt. Karl Haywood, commander, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group (EODGRU) 2. “SnowCrabEx trained Navy EOD, diving and salvage forces to better operate and survive in the challenging Arctic environment. The training we conduct in austere environments simulates combat environments and contains inherent risk so that our forces are prepared to face any threat or challenge.”

U.S. Navy forces must be able to operate in the Arctic because “the United States is an Arctic nation, which instills responsibility for the stewardship and protection of this region,” according to the White House’s National Strategy for the Arctic Region.

During Snow Crab Ex, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 12 and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 exercised tactical control over EODMU 12 and EODMU 2, as well as MDSU 2.

“Snow Crab Ex is a valuable exercise to focus on tactics and equipment needed to operate in Arctic conditions,” said Cmdr. Garrett Pankow, commander, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 2. “The Arctic presents challenging conditions, and the lessons learned from Snow Crab Ex will improve Navy EOD and mobile diving and salvage teams’ readiness to operate quickly and efficiently anywhere, anytime, including cold weather environments.”

Navy EOD cleared simulated unexploded ordnance, secured critical infrastructure, learned critical arctic survivability and mobility skills, and effectively communicated between distributed operating units in a training environment, while also maintaining command and control (C2) of forces.

“The demolition ranges we typically have access to don’t allow the same range of capabilities. Being in a new environment, and the realistic use of live unexploded ordnance here, built on our previous training and is critical to building confidence and competence for our platoons,” said Explosive Ordnance Disposal Senior Chief Calvin Quinn, lead chief petty officer of EODMU 12. “Every place is different; every piece of ordnance is different. This exercise gave us real-life training on what we simulate all the time.”

Navy Divers also successfully completed ice dive training, completed arctic survivability and mobility training, and utilized specialized equipment like the VR Defender, an unmanned underwater vehicle that provides Sailors increased safety and dwell time when inspecting or surveying the underwater environment. The unique training environment at Camp Ripley allowed Navy divers to expand their capabilities for diving and salvage to an arctic environment.

“Ice diving operations at Snow Crab Ex gave us a unique opportunity to get hands on, real world experience and knowledge that you just can’t simulate in a pool,” said Navy Diver 1st Class Keenan Foley, a diver assigned to EODMU 3. “The diver’s motto is, ‘Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.’ Diving under the ice introduced new elements to adapt to during arctic salvage operations.”

The MDSU teams are uniquely qualified to support this type of mission. Foley and the other divers used dry suits designed to protect divers against hypothermia while submerged in 30-degree water. The team also used a dual manifold/dual regulator system to ensure they could continue to breathe from their tanks if one of their regulators froze over and a special tool that helped keep everyone safe underwater.

The Minnesota National Guard provided air support for portions of the exercise. Air Force EOD Technicians from the 148th Fighter Wing Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Flight provided support to demolition training and operations.

The U.S. Navy routinely patrols on, above, below and around Arctic waters to ensure the security of commerce and demonstrate freedom of navigation. Exercises like Snow Crab Ex 24-1 allow our teams to assess their readiness, increase their experience in the region, test new technologies, and advance our understanding of the Arctic environment.

Other Navy Expeditionary Combat Command units that participated in Snow Crab Ex 24-1 included: EOD Expeditionary Support Unit (EODESU) 2, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron (MSRON) 4, Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group (NAVELSG) and Navy Expeditionary Intelligence Command (NEIC). All participating Navy units are headquartered at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story with the exception of NEIC, headquartered on Naval Air Station Oceana Dam Neck Annex and NAVELSG, headquartered on Naval Weapons Station Yorktown.

EODGRU 2 operates as part of Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and provides skilled, capable, and combat-ready deployable Navy EOD and Navy Diver forces around the globe to support a range of operations.

For the full collection of photos from SnowCrabEx 24-1, and news about U.S. Navy EOD and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two, visit