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Military

Rushmore VBSS Team Prepares for Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070204-06
Release Date: 2/4/2007 3:44:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Drew Williams, USS Rushmore Public Affairs

USS RUSHMORE, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Rushmore’s Visit, Boarding, Search and Seizure (VBSS) team practiced operational scenarios while underway during workups in February for what they might experience during deployment.

Many of the Sailors on the VBSS team have recently completed the nine weeks of intensive training and are anxious to experience real-world situations.

“It’s exciting going out to help and protect people,” said Damage Controlman 3rd Class Krystal Smith, who joined the VBSS team this year. “As long as I’m at sea, I want to do this. I know it will be a great experience.”

The responsibility of the VBSS team is to ensure the safety of the waterways by preventing piracy, the shipping of illegal cargo and terrorism.

“It is nice to do something different for a change than just your regular duties,” said Ensign Dustin Ricklefs, one of the Rushmore’s VBSS team leaders. “I know that it will be demanding during our deployment for how often we will be called to duty, but they are a great team and they deserve recognition for volunteering.”

The VBSS team is often the first contact for a foreign ship with the U.S. Navy, so they serve as ambassadors as well. All members of the team conduct themselves with strict military bearing, but also show an approachable demeanor that would allow the team to do their job and complete the mission.

“We board ships and ensure safety of the waterways,” said Fire Controlman 2nd Class David A. Seymore, who has two years of VBSS experience. “VBSS is important because we ensure merchant ships feel safe and are able to contact coalition forces or the United States if they are in danger or need assistance.”

Rushmore’s VBSS team will continue training inport and underway in preparation for an overseas deployment as part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group.



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