By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Tyler D. John,
USS Ronald Reagan Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan – USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) completed a search and rescue (SAR) Limited Training Team (LTT) assessment, Jan. 12.
Inspectors from Afloat Training Group, Detachment Western Pacific (ATGWP) visited USS Ronald Reagan to conduct a three-day, ship-requested inspection of the ship’s Deck Department and SAR swimmers.
“These inspections are important,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Adam Wendt, an ATGWP inspector. “If the ship’s SAR swimmers and Deck Department aren’t communicating correctly in a combat situation somebody could lose their life.”
Part of the assessment was held at the Purdy Gym pool aboard Fleet Activities, Yokosuka, Japan, where Sailors were evaluated on their ability to save unconscious victims, fight off combative survivors in the water, rescue drowned pilots and administer first-aid to medical casualties.
“We do these drills twice a week,” said Interior Communications Technician 3rd Class Christian Encinas, a Ronald Reagan SAR swimmer from Madrid, Spain, “It eventually becomes instinctual, which will help us in a real-life scenario.”
Another part of the assessment was held aboard USS Ronald Reagan. ATGWP inspectors examined the ship’s SAR-swimmer equipment, including wetsuits, googles, snorkels, flippers and first-aid equipment as well as its SAR-deck equipment including life preservers, line, battle lanterns, hand-held radios and medical stretchers.
“It’s critical that our gear is not damaged.” said Encinas, “We need to be sure lights work at night, our knives are sharp for cutting line, and flotation devices work for an unconscious survivor. It’s simple details which need to be caught in order to save someone’s life”
ATGWP is responsible for the training, testing and certifying of SAR swimmers for 19 ships stationed in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.