A Small-Time Mariner’s Voyage, Days 5-7: Lessons in Vigilance At Sea

October 15, 16 & 17, 2014, Aboard USS Wayne E. Meyer- The themes of presentations given Tiger Cruise participants, (invited relatives or friends of Officers and Crew of my son’s ship), for the first three full days of the return sail, involved the security and rescue tasks of the crew.  So, we got to look at some weapons, view a SAR (Sea & Air Rescue) practice drill, watch a display of the ship’s firepower and tour a helicopter.

Most of the crew were welcoming of our presence.  Those who felt otherwise, at least kept their feelings hidden until we were safe in port, and by then, it didn’t matter what they felt.  So, days 5 through 7 of the cruise were busy with learning how our sailors are contributing to our nation’s safety and well-being.

On the morning of Day 5, we were  well out at sea.  This scenario, in other parts of the world, is exactly the place where a ship might be accosted by hostile maritime forces.  The Takeover Crew are trained to board ships, a task requiring peak physical conditioning and an absence of vertigo, among other qualifications.  In this, and other segments of the crew’s presentations, care has been taken to not display too closely the specific munitions and large weaponry.  I will not identify weapons by specific name.  The photo below shows ladders which must be climbed, on a good many ships, and one of the hooks the Crew uses in its task.

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The men below are explaining various phases of tracking and boarding suspect vessels.SAM_3030

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The Crew graciously posed, though unfortunately the Sun was also posing.  Women are a full and integral part of the security operations aboard ship.   Later on Day 5, we met the Navigation Crew, including my son, and paid a brief visit to the Engineering section, far below decks.  Both are secure operations, so I refrained from photographing them.SAM_3039

One of the helicopters attached to the ship conducted a flight practice on Day 5.  It also was instrumental in the SAR practice on Day 6.

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The two SAR drill swimmers, who are experts in the skill, pose with the father of the swimmer to the left.

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The next several shots are of the actual drill.  See whether your sharp eyes can spot the swimmer, as he is being “rescued” by the helicopter.

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Later on Day 6, we watched a display of heavy weapons fire.

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The orange plastic square below was dubbed “Killer Tomato”.  It became the hapless target of several rounds of ammunition, over a twenty- minute period.

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As with any such event, we met the Looky Lous, and they were us.

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Day 7 was a bit more benign.  We toured one of the helicopters that is attached to the ship.  As you can see, some of us had selfies taken in the co-pilot’s seat.

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The Blue Hawks are an extra safety component during long cruises.

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The ship’s wake increased, drastically, during a maximum speed drill, in the afternoon of Day 7.

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We ended a busy three days with a briefing on the medical operations aboard ship.  Here is some of the equipment available for medical emergencies.

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We would be in a slightly more relaxed mode, for the last three days of the journey.

12 thoughts on “A Small-Time Mariner’s Voyage, Days 5-7: Lessons in Vigilance At Sea

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