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O'Kane's Flying Squad Practices Rescue and Assistance Operations

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070529-19
Release Date: 5/29/2007 5:16:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Joseph R. Vincent, USS John C. Stennis Public Affairs

USS O’KANE, At Sea (NNS) -- Flying squad members aboard USS O’Kane (DDG 77) performed a rescue and assistance drill May 11.

The drill, conducted on the flight deck, trained flying squad members on the fundamentals of rescue and assistance (R&A) operations, as well as the proper set up and use of a P-100 pump used for dewatering.

“We do these drills to keep up the proficiency of the teams,” said Damage Controlman 1st Class (SW) Eric Skinner, a damage control training team member. “That’s especially important out here. The R&A team needs to know they are able to respond if they ever need to.”

The drill kicked off with a mock distress call from another ship that was experiencing flooding in the after steering compartment. Once the call was made, the flying squad sprung into action, bringing their gear to the flight deck, to include a pipe-patching kit and a P-100 pump.

“They manned up and brought out all the dewatering equipment on station,” said Ensign David Schaller, flying squad’s locker leader. “After simulating the onload, transit and off-load, they set up the equipment on station to fight the casualty.”

Once all the gear arrived on scene, the squad quickly assembled the P-100 pump suction and discharge hoses. Then, they demonstrated lowering an S-type inductor into the affected space for dewatering.

“They did outstanding,” said Skinner. “They’re quick, they’re knowledgeable, and I have full confidence they can do their job.”

R&A drills are a quarterly requirement and a vital part of O’Kane’s mission.

“It’s important to retain our proficiency in this area,” said Schaller. “If we have to respond to a dhow (small fishing boat) that is not seaworthy, it’s important that we are able to respond. In maritime operations, this is an important skill set to bring to the fight.”

The flying squad completes various other situational drills on a weekly basis. The drills keep the squad’s skills honed in a number of different casualties that a ship might experience.

“It keeps the ship safe,” said Ship’s Serviceman Seaman Kayla Anderjeski, a flying squad member. “It trains us how to respond to a casualty and prepares us for situations that are out of the ordinary.”

O’Kane is currently in the U.S. 5th Fleet’s area of operations as part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group in support of maritime operations.

Maritime operations help set the conditions for security and stability in the maritime environment and complement the counter-terrorism and security efforts in regional nations’ littoral waters. Coalition forces also conduct maritime operations under international maritime conventions to ensure security and safety in international waters so that commercial shipping and fishing can occur safely in the region.

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