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USS Raven Assists Iranian Vessel

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060915-18
Release Date: 9/15/2006 12:03:00 PM

From From U.S. 5th Fleet Public Affairs

ABOARD USS RAVEN, At Sea (NNS) -- U.S. Navy mine hunter USS Raven (MHC 61) provided emergency medical assistance Sept. 13 to an Iranian-flagged fishing dhow that requested assistance for an injured crew member.

While conducting maritime security operations (MSO) in the Persian Gulf, the dhow altered its course and headed toward Raven’s vicinity.

Raven crew members noticed the dhow’s crew was topside frantically trying to signal the ship. A Raven crew member reported that a fisherman was waving a T-shirt and another was cradling an unconscious man in his arms.

“To see the dhow alter its course in order to try and intercept our ship made me a little apprehensive,” said Lt. Cmdr. Todd Braynard, Raven’s commanding officer. “But once I got to the bridge and saw them waving and carrying the injured crewman up from below decks, I realized they really needed our assistance.”

Raven dispatched a boarding team that included Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Amanda Powell, the ship’s independent duty corpsman (IDC). They arrived at the dhow via Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) and were led aboard by the boarding officer, Ens. Andrew Serfass.

Although she was unsure what to expect aboard the vessel, Powell said she felt an urgency to help.

“I was fairly apprehensive about boarding the Iranian vessel,” she said. “But the need to help far outweighed the apprehension I felt.”

Once aboard, Powell diagnosed the unconscious fisherman with a severe case of dehydration and reported that his kidneys were possibly to the point of failure.

The corpsman quickly administered an IV of saline. Shortly there after, the fisherman regained consciousness and eventually sat up and drank water on his own.

“Bottom line, my independent duty corpsman saved the crewman’s life,” said Braynard. “A few more hours and his kidneys would have shut down.”

While aboard, the IDC also noticed that several of the crew members were suffering from various maladies, including abrasions on their arms and legs and another complained of a headache. The corpsman applied iodine to the wounds and wrapped them with bandages. She also provided aspirin to help with the headache.

“Once the crew saw that I was there to help, they were very receptive to my aid,” said Powell.

The IDC also noticed that the dhow’s other eight crew members were in various stages of dehydration. Additionally, the boarding officer reported that the dhow was critically low in potable water, and the ship’s master stated that the vessel was still several days away from port.

To assist, Raven transferred 200 gallons of potable water to the dhow’s tanks and provided 10 cases of bottled water.

The crew members were very cooperative and extremely appreciative of the assistance. The dhow’s master even offered the boarding officer two large mackerel as a gift for the much-needed help.

“You never grow tired of doing this part of the job; helping people who really need it,” said Braynard. “Helping people who need it, regardless of nationality or political differences, it makes our crew feel good about the job they did today.”

Powell agrees with that sentiment.

“It makes me feel very good to help someone and even possibly save their life,” she said. “This is what I’m trained for, and it feels good to be able to use that training to help others.”

Raven, an Osprey-class coastal mine hunter, is forward deployed to Naval Support Activity Bahrain and conducts MSO as part of Commander, Task Force (CTF) 55.

MSO help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment, as well as complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts of regional nations. These operations deny international terrorists use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.



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