On the 3rd April, Golden West Humanitarian Foundation and CMAC hosted around one hundred delegates from the US embassy, the national press and mine action partners. The day marked the ceremonial opening of the CMAC Dive Unit and standing up of the CMAC Dive Team. It also provided an opportunity for Humanitarian Mine Action Organizations working in Cambodia to demonstrate their various initiatives in operation countrywide.
The event was held at CMAC and Golden West headquarters in Kampong Chnang. As well as representatives from the major mine action organizations, the day was graced with the presence of the U.S Ambassador, H.E William Todd, the Secretary General of CMAA, H.E Chum Bunrong and a number of other Excellencies.
The day started with speeches from Allen Tan (Country Director- Cambodia) H.E Heng Ratana (DG CMAC) H.E William Todd and finally H.E Chum Bunrong. The speeches highlighted the ever present need for humanitarian ERW clearance in Cambodia and praised the new capabilities that would be provided by Cambodia’s first UXO Salvage Dive Team. The speeches were followed with awards showing recognition from the country of Cambodia for US dignitaries and the following Golden West staff for their hard work in the process of creating the CMAC dive team: Allen Tan, Len Austin, Rob Rice, Marcel Durocher, Reaksmey Chan, Heang Sambo and Thong Khean.
Following the awards, the newly refitted Dive Building was opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony and the inaugural ringing of the Dive Unit Bell (donated by Golden West) by the dignitaries. After a brief tour of the impressive features of the dive unit, a press conference was held.
The delegates were then shown to demonstrations from NPA with the CMAC dog teams and the NPA Cluster Munition Survey team, MAG for the mechanical clearance demonstration, HALO for the HSTAMIDS detection demo and finally Golden West for an EHP tour. The US ambassador expressed great interest in the EHP recycling process and was even more impressed to see the results when he triggered the first demolition of the day, an anti-personnel landmine destroyed using the Golden West 100g Humanitarian Demining Charge. The second landmine was triggered by the young son of a United States Embassy employee, much to his and his father’s delight.
The pride and recognition of Cambodia for its first UXO Salvage Dive Team was made most apparent on the day and the festivities marked the occasion in a suitably impressive fashion.
Awards given to staff:
- Allen Tan, Country Director- Cambodia : Royal Order of Sahametrei Commander
- Len Austin, Chief of EOD Operations: Royal Order of Sahametrei Commander
- Rob Rice, Chief of Dive Operations: Royal Order of Sahametrei Officer
- Marcel Durocher, Chief of Detection Operations: Royal Order of Sahametrei Officer
- Sambo Heang, Detection Operations Officer: Royal Order of Sowathra Officer
- Thong Khean, EOD Operations Officer: Royal Order of Sowathra Officer
- Reaksmey Chan, Senior Accounting Manager Asia Pacific: Royal Order of Sowathra Officer
Information Regarding awards:
Royal Order of Sahametrei
Cambodian Honours System
The Cambodia Daily
US Ambassador to Cambodia’s Blog