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Carter Hall VBSS Ready for Real-World Ops

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080721-02
Release Date: 7/21/2008 3:42:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW/SW) Flordeliz Valerio, Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group Public Affairs

USS CARTER HALL, At Sea (NNS) -- The visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team assigned to the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) successfully finished four boarding exercises to qualify for deployment during the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) Composite Training Exercise (COMTUEX) July 8-18.

The VBSS team completed their training, garnering a score of more than 80 percent on their first two boarding attempts, more than 90 percent on the third and 98 percent for last boarding.

The evaulation included: how the team operates when it comes aboard suspect vessels; how the ship maneuvers when the rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) come alongside another vessel; tactics team members use when boarding a suspect vessel; and, intelligence reports collected.

"There are a lot of checks that we have to hit, and the evaluators did a great job in telling us what we could improve when we board the ship," said Lt. j.g. Andrew Evans, Carter Hall's VBSS boating officer.

The boarding training during COMTUEX gives Sailors the opportunity to display what they have learned and how they would handle real-life situations.

"The team did a great job," said Lt j.g. Arlene DeCidio, Carter Hall's training officer. "They worked hard to get where they are now. They underwent a lot of training, and the boarding officer really knows his stuff. He leads them well and does a good job along with the rest of the team."

She said the team has gone through a lot of preparations to increase proficiency.

"These Sailors have been training on security operations, force protection, clearing procedures, combat operations and so many other things. You can never get enough training. There will always be different situations with different people and different vessels to board. Every situation is different."

Evans said the ship does a lot of boarding trainings every month to keep the Sailors up to date with their qualifications.

"I am confident of the training we provide. [It] will help us prepare for operations that we will meet in the theater. We are good team now, but there is always room for improvement so we can get better."

He said that although the team is elated from finishing the training successfully, this will not stop them from striving to be better.

"It is a good feeling to know that our team has what it takes to pass the evaluations. It is nice to know that all of our hard work has paid off in the end."

Carter Hall is part of the Iwo Jima ESG, which also consists the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26 MEU); the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17); the guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72); the guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61); all homeported at Norfolk, Va.; the guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), homeported at Mayport, Fla.; and the fast attack submarine USS Hartford (SSN 768), homeported at Groton, Conn.

For more news from Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/iwoesg/.



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