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Mobile Security Detachment Sailors Train Saipan SSDF Enroute to Haiti

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050131-06
Release Date: 1/31/2005 4:00:00 PM

By Journalist Seaman Apprentice Derek Hurder, USS Saipan Public Affairs

USS SAIPAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Members of the Ship's Self-Defense Force (SSDF) team aboard USS Saipan (LHA 2) capitalized on the expertise of Mobile Security Detachment (MSD) 23 during a training session Jan. 28 in the ship's hangar bay.

The Portsmouth, Va.- based MSD 23 is aboard Saipan in transit to Haiti to participate in exercise New Horizons. As part of New Horizons, U.S. military forces are deploying to Haiti to build three schoolhouses, drill wells and provide free medical assistance in hurricane-ravaged areas of the island.

The detachment will provide perimeter security for Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 while the ship offloads the 1,200 tons of supplies and equipment needed to conduct exercise New Horizons. During the transit, they took the opportunity to teach and demonstrate tactical movements and formations to the Saipan SSDF team.

Chief Gunner's Mate Timothy Hackett, ship's gunner, organized the training with MSD 23.

"My thought process was that these guys are trained constantly on tactical movements and weapons deployment," Hackett said. "We have this asset on the ship. We should take advantage of it."

When Hackett approached the detachment with the idea to employ their knowledge to train the SSDF team, MSD 23 members were glad to help.

"They were really excited," said Hackett. "They told me anything they could do for us, they'd be happy to help."

During the training, Saipan's team of about 120 SSDF members watched as MSD 23 personnel demonstrated maneuvers for entering and clearing a room.

"The most important thing they talked about today was tactical maneuvers," Hackett said. "They trained the team to effectively move on ladder wells, which is one of the concerns we've had."

Master-at-Arms 1st Class Robert Goode feels the SSDF team quickly grasped the concepts presented by MSD 23 members.

"They're learning a lot," Goode said. "They're quick to catch on. It seems like you can see the light bulbs going on above their heads."

Hackett feels that the perspective MSD 23 brings to the ship will augment normal SSDF training.

"This is what they do for a living," he said. "They use this in real life on a constant basis. They get the opportunity to put this stuff in action and learn from it."

"It's going to benefit the team by getting their wheels turning," added Goode. "The training will help prevent the frame of mind that nothing's going to happen aboard a ship. We're in a time where things do happen aboard ships. We need to make sure everyone is ready for that."

"It's a great education for our team," added Hackett. "It's good all-around training."

Hackett plans to schedule two training sessions on the way to Haiti, and at least two more on the way back to homeport in Norfolk.

"We want the detachment to teach us about team communications, more tactical movements and weapons deployment," he said. "There's so many things these guys can share with us while they're here."

Hackett added that this training puts Saipan ahead of other ships' SSDF teams that are working toward the same goal.

"My goal when I took over SSDF was to have a well-trained, well-organized team," he said. "I think we are well organized, and we're working daily to become well trained. This just adds to our strength and makes us a better team."

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