Golden West Marshall Islands operation overview
The Marshall Islands saw conflict during World War II and still bear the scars and remnants of war from these battles. Set deep in the Northern Pacific and only accessible by long boat journeys, the majority of it’s atolls have been difficult to reach efficiently and within budget for ordnance clearance and remediation. Thanks to Golden West Humanitarian Foundation’s extensive research and development program an affordable approach was available that could enable fast and effective removal of ordnance on some of the most contaminated atolls.
July 2013 saw a Golden West Humanitarian Foundation team deploy to two atolls; Mili and Maloelap in the Marshall Islands. The team was led by Len Austin, the Chief of EOD Operations with Golden West. Joining him were members from two Golden West trained teams: the Cambodian CMAC/Golden West EOD specialists and selected members of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force EOD team. Each of the team members were highly skilled and experienced, having undergone years of training with Golden West’s team of training staff.
Joining the teams was the Golden West designed “Island Hopper Package”, specifically designed to enable teams to easily move from island to island with the specific tools they need. The Island Hopper consists of transport and logistics tools, ordnance remediation and cutting tools and everything the teams need to operate effectively on these islands.
The operation followed an earlier survey conducted by Len Austin that identified the areas that could use the specialist assistance of the team. The survey and subsequent planning ensured that the operation was a success- the team worked diligently in many different environments, managing to locate and destroy many pieces of ordnance. Overall, the team located and made safe close to 200 ordnance items, many of which were of a very large size, up to over 600lb.
Thanks to the funding of the U.S Department of State, Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement (PM-WRA), Golden West Humanitarian Foundation was able to make the Islands of Mili and Taroa safer places for its inhabitants.