March 24, 2020 – The Search and Rescue (SAR) team aboard USS Stethem recently completed their search and rescue certification (SARCERT).
The certification included material and administrative checks, exercises to recover a man overboard using both the Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) and foc’sle and a test of competency in plotting man overboard.
“The SARCERT was a challenging certification where we were able to prove proficiency in one of the most important mission areas, life-saving at sea.” First Lt. and SAR Officer, Ensign Nick Melara said. “Our team enjoyed working with (Afloat Training Group) and welcomed their assistance in fine tuning our SAR operations.”
The SAR swimmers knowledge, proficiency and gear were checked on the first week of the inspection.
“The tests and inspections ensure we are always ready to respond and have the requisite knowledge to do so” said Lt. j.g. Eric Chamberlin, Stetham’s SAR swimmer.
The SAR swimmers also have to pass a grueling physical fitness test, which includes a 400 meter buddy tow and a recovery of a man overboard using the rescue stokes litter. The SAR swimmers maintain their physical condition with weekly training sessions in the pool and quarterly drills at sea.
During the second week of the inspection the operations specialist (OS) team certified in SAR plotting. During the five hour written test, the team was tested on their ability to accurately plot a man overboard with variables such as wind, sea state, temperature and current.
On the last day of the certification, the man overboard recovery team and SAR swimmers conducted a man overboard drill under the watchful eye of ATG San Diego. The teams executed the drills without a single discrepancy.
“Our team worked very hard to prepare for this inspection,” said Boatswain’s Mate First Class Ingram Betron. “Our hard work paid off as we certified without a single issue.”
USS Stethams’s SAR team is certified until 2023.
USS Stethem is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer homeported in San Diego and is assigned to Destroyer Squadron Two One.