U.S. Navy and the Georgian Coast Guard performed a Search and Rescue Training (October 14)
Today the U.S. Navy and the Georgian Coast Guard took their longstanding cooperation to a whole new level. Divers from the USS Mount Whitney docked in Batumi demonstrated a search and rescue operation for the Georgian Coast Guard and the Marine Detachment (MARDET) of the Georgian Special Forces. It was the first time such a joint exercise has ever taken place. As LTJG Jon Davis from the USS Mount Whitney said, “It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us; we have not had this type of exercise here onboard in the three yeas that I have been here. It is all about saving lives and doing it safely.”
Press Stand Up after the Training
LTJG Jon Davis, Administrative Officer, USS Mount Whitney
My name is Lieutenant Davis; I am the Administrative Officer and Public Affairs Officer onboard USS Mount Whitney. Today we are here to conduct a search and rescue exercise with the Georgian Coast Guard. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us; we have not had this type of exercise here onboard in the three yeas that I have been here. Again, it is a pleasure to be here in Georgia. If you take a look behind me our sailors and Georgian sailors are all preparing to conduct an exercise. We will go out and we will drop two persons in the water and try to rescue those people. It is a cooperative effort here between USS Mount Whitney and the Georgian Coast Guard to strengthen the training on how to rescue persons that are in the water, which is a very important aspect of what we do as sailors—most of the time we will be out in the middle of the ocean with no other support other than ourselves, so how do you rescue a person who has fallen off the board or even worse who has received a concussion and now in the water? So, we either put a small boat or a helo or something to that effect into the water to save a person. It is all about saving lives and doing it safely. Today, we will be conducting a search and rescue training exercise. Again, this is to show the level of knowledge, the crews’ level of knowledge, and help everyone involved in how to do this process better.
Chief Mate Ray Donnelly
This is our fourteenth year of working with the Georgian Coast Guard, every year we strengthen our relationship with the Georgian Coast Guard. We are very happy to have them onboard today with us so that they can see how our operations are conducted. Our number one priority is safety. Some of the things that we do is prior to the putting a boat into the water we always do our checks. We follow exclusive instructions handed down from our company, it is a safety policy, we have about ten to twelve guys on station wearing lifejackets and hard hats, when we put a boat into the water. As far as the swimming is concerned, we have two rescue swimmers attached to our ship at all times. They go through quarterly trainings, so about every ninety days we put them into the water to do scenarios like the one we did today.
Engine Utility Arthur Morrison (Search and Rescue Swimmer who participated in the exercise)
Q: How did you like our sea? Was it difficult?
A: No, it was not too bad; the water temperature is nicer down there. We have good relations [with the Georgian coast Guard], it [the exercise] shows them what we use for our equipment and hopefully this will be useful for their rescue operations.