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DSU Team Returns from Rescue Mission

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050811-05
Release Date: 8/11/2005 1:57:00 PM

By Journalist Seaman Joseph Caballero, Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A Deep Submergence Unit (DSU) team returned to Naval Air Base North Island in Coronado, Calif., Aug. 8 after it participated in the rescue of Russian submariners trapped hundreds of feet under the Pacific Ocean near Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.

In a period of only a few hours from the time of the incident, Russian, British and U.S. resources were readied, deployed and brought to bear in a cooperative effort to free the seven sailors trapped more than 600 feet below the surface for two days.

Three U.S. Navy divers and a U.S. Navy doctor from the DSU team worked with their British counterparts during the rescue operation.

Close, frequent communications from the very start of the operation between navy officials in Russia, Britain, Japan, and the United States greatly facilitated the prompt and cooperative rescue efforts.

“The close team work and global coordination between our navies to rescue these sailors in such a short time is testimony to the spirit and determination of our nations,” said Adm. Gary Roughead, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The British remotely operated vehicle (ROV), which is capable of cuting through one-inch steel cable, successfully removed the net entangling the mini-sub. After it was freed, the buoyant mini-sub floated to the surface.

“It was that joint response that saved those sailors’ lives,” said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen. “If there’s any representation of tremendous coming together and the great capability of the United States Navy and other navies from other countries, this was it.”

DSU’s team also responded with two “Super Scorpio” ROVs, but focused on supporting the British team that was already on the scene.

“The focus was to save those guys as quickly as possible. This was really a team effort,” said Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Kelly Sparlin, a diver with the team. “I know if I was trapped down there, I’d hope they’d come save me.”

The DSU Sailors who went on the rescue mission were happy to contribute to this successful international effort. It is their mission and goal to save fellow submariners, according to the DSU’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Kent Van Horn.

“These men are a great group of Sailors. They love what they do,” said Van Horn. “When you're part of the DSU command, you have to be ready to go rescue somebody on a minute’s notice. We have to do it quickly and safely – and we did it.”

 



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