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USS Curts CO Praises Alert Lookout, Crew

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070914-19
Release Date: 9/14/2007 5:11:00 PM

From Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- On the evening of Sept. 12, alert lookouts aboard San Diego-based USS Curts (FFG 38) observed what they thought was a capsized boat while conducting routine operations southeast of San Clemente Island. The ship moved closer to the object and, upon closer examination, determined it to be a dead whale.

Cmdr. Yvette M. Davids, Curts’ commanding officer, praised her watchstander: “Seaman Eti Lotoa [the forward lookout] was focused, and he took his job seriously and spotted the whale carcass far in the distance, alerting the officer of the deck immediately. His actions were commendable and showed that he will do the right thing.”

"We have lookout and underway watchstander training twice a week, which covers a lot of topics including marine mammal protection,” said Lotoa.

Due to the condition of the remains, the mammal appeared to have been dead for some time. The Navy is assisting the National Marine Fisheries Service in collecting samples for scientific analysis.

“As members of the Department of Defense we are custodians of our environment and have an obligation to protect our nation's precious resources,” Davids said. “As professional mariners, we have a deep respect for the oceans we operate in and for all the creatures that call her home.”

Lt. Mark Walton, Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesman, added, "By promptly reporting the discovery of dead whales to proper authorities, we aid scientists in determining what might have caused their death."

USS Curts had not been using sonar in the region.

“I am pleased to see the crew of USS Curts doing their part to protect the ocean environment,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Environment) Donald Schregardus when informed of the incident. “We are committed to working with the National Marine Fisheries Service to determine the cause of this mortality,” Schregardus said.

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