Canadian Armed Forces and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Team Up in Trinidad

Four divers carry an orange bag under the water
Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago. June 4, 2017 – Caribbean divers practice recovering a simulated body during Exercise TRADEWINDS 17. (Photo: MCpl Gabrielle DesRochers, Canadian Forces Combat Camera)


By Karla Gimby, Communications Advisor, Directorate of Army Public Affairs

For the first time, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has teamed up with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to train military divers from Caribbean nations during Exercise TRADEWINDS 2017.

Divers from Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic (FDU(A)) of the Royal Canadian Navy are supporting Exercise TRADEWINDS in Trinidad. They are training divers from partner nations in a variety of dive skills, including search patterns and evidence recovery. For this part of the training, the Canadian team is working with members from the FBI’s Underwater Search and Evidence Recovery Team (USERT).

“Partnering with the FBI is valuable for the Canadian Armed Forces to know that we can work together,” said Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class (CPO2) Karl Hesjedahl. “It’s also great for the divers from the partner nations because there is always more than one way to do a job – they are getting a better perspective.”

While the Canadian team is teaching the search pattern techniques that the students will use to uncover evidence under the water, the FBI members are teaching how to recover the evidence. Canadian divers will then oversee the participants putting into practice what they have learned in the water.

Supervisory Special Agent (SSA) Michael Tyms, Program Manager for USERT, agrees that developing relationships with different organizations is beneficial. “Whether diving together or providing training together, having this opportunity to work alongside one another in an exercise scenario prepares us for real-world situations,” said SSA Tyms.

Search techniques and underwater evidence recovery are unique and important skills for military divers to possess. If the right search methods are used, the evidence has a greater chance of being found. Further, if that evidence is properly collected and handled, it will be able to withstand challenges in a criminal court of law.

“Every crime has a victim and if we do our jobs right, we can help that victim,” said SSA Tyms.

Exercise TRADEWINDS 17 officially began on June 6. Leading up to that date, 30 participants from ten Caribbean nations practiced drills and learned new skills that they are using during the live portion of the exercise. At the end of the exercise, they will be able to bring what they have learned back to their respective militaries.

“Our joint efforts with the FBI to help train members of our partner nations in some of the best underwater search and recovery techniques will benefit us all,” said CPO2 Hesjedahl. “We hope that by having the students complete challenging tasks they will gain more confidence in their own abilities to know that they can make a positive difference in their own countries.”

Image gallery

  • A group of people stand around a man pointing to equipment while he kneels
  • Four divers carry an orange package out of the water, onto the shore
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