By: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Wyscaver, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Petty Officer 3rd Class Roddrick Guerra is a Navy mineman serving aboard USS Champion under the command of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
As a Navy mineman, Guerra is responsible for watch standing, as well as sweeping and hunting for mines.
“I like that the mineman rate is very diverse,” said Guerra. “We have an expanded skill set where we conduct a variety of unique tasks.”
Guerra credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Methuen.
“It’s important to be open-minded and try to see the good in everything and everyone,” said Guerra.
Mine countermeasure ships are designed as mine sweepers/hunter-killers capable of finding, classifying and destroying moored and bottom mines. These ships use sonar and video systems, cable cutters and a mine detonating device that can be released and detonated by remote control.
Hunting mines is a slow, laborious task that requires a ship to stay in one small area until it’s done, according to Navy reports. Since 1945, mines have sunk almost four times more US ships than all other threats combined, said Navy officials.
The worldwide threat, which today totals more than a million weapons of some 300 different types, from rudimentary but still-dangerous World War I-era contact mines to highly sophisticated, multiple-influence and programmable weapons, reports the Navy. These figures are for sea mines, proper; they do not include underwater-improvised explosive devices that can be fashioned from fuel bladders, 50-gallon drums, and even discarded refrigerators.
The ships use remotely operated mine disposal system and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) mine neutralization system. The disposal system detects, locates, classifies and neutralizes moored mines and mines resting on the seabed. The vehicle uses high-frequency, high-resolution sonar, low light level television, cable cutters and explosive charges to detect and dispose of mines, while remaining tethered to the vessel by a cable and under control of the vessel. Each ship accommodates a crew of 80.
“The best part of serving on a mine sweeper is the close bonds you build with your shipmates,” said Guerra.
As part of the Navy, Guerra explained that sailors are helping to build a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, including helping to develop new war-fighting capabilities to continue the Navy’s success on the world’s oceans.
“Being in the Navy, I always get to learn something new and I have developed some great and lasting friendships,” said Guerra.