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Ford's Boarding Team Excited After Mission Training

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070209-09
Release Date: 2/9/2007 12:05:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Douglas G. Morrison, Fleet Public Affairs Center Detachment Northwest

EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) -- While in port, USS Ford’s (FFG 54) Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) Team practiced scenario drills Feb. 6 for an upcoming certification.

During the training, team members gathered into a rigid hull inflatable boat and were lowered to the water. Once in, the team did a short mock patrol of the area before boarding Ford.

The team was instructed to capture Sailors acting as incompliant 'bad guys' dressed in civilian clothes who had been instructed to give a little resistance.

The Ford’s boarding officer, Lt. j.g. Jessica McClay, said the VBSS team of volunteers is getting ready to explore new territory.

“During our next deployment we plan on doing some actual boarding,” said McClay. “These Sailors are pretty ramped up about training.”

McClay said most of the team has already gone through the Security Reaction Force (SRF) basic and SRF advanced courses and are now looking forward to becoming VBSS certified.

“VBSS certification is basically demonstrating to Afloat Training Group that we are actually able to carry out the mission we have trained to do,” said McClay.

Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class (SW) Adam Weiss, a seasoned VBSS volunteer, expressed how important he thinks training is.

“I think training is great and we can never get enough,” said Weiss. “We have had about eight weeks of formal training already that gave us the basics. It’s now the ships responsibility to go over scenarios again and again.”

Seaman Ryan Smalley, a new member of the team, is happy to be a part of something he can be proud of, but realizes the risks involved.

“I have never done this before,” said Smalley. “As an undesignated Seaman, this was a good way for me to get involved in something worthwhile. I have done pretty well in my training so far, but I am pretty nervous about performing in real situations. I am looking forward to this training and I think it will give me a little more experience.”

Many Sailors on the team agree that there can never be enough training and shared some of the reasons training is important to them.

“Since this job is a collateral duty for us and all the skill sets are perishable, I think it is critical that we do as much training as possible especially when personal safety is a factor,” said Cryptologic Technician Technical 1st Class (SW) Joseph Brewer. “In my opinion, we don’t do this type [of] training enough. I wish we could have more of it.”

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