Training to Save Lives
cg62
​Navy file photo

WATERS OFF THE COAST OF JAPAN – The cold ocean embraced him as he jumped from the small craft, but he didn’t mind the temperature. All he could think about was completing the mission and retrieving his shipmate during a drill.

On the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), Seaman Ryan Mango is a search and rescue (SAR) swimmer. He is often seen in a wet suit; gear in hand and ready for anything.

“During any special evolutions on the ship that may involve someone going overboard, a SAR swimmer must be present,” Mango said. “At any given moment, I need to be ready to be [called upon].”

Mango graduated from Kings Park High School in Long Island, New York, in 2014. He said joined the Navy to challenge himself and create new experiences. “Anything can happen on a ship,” Mango said. “That’s why I think SAR swimmers are so essential to our mission. It can literally be the difference between life and death.” The U.S. Navy requires two qualified SAR swimmers in order for ships to leave ports.

SAR swimmer candidates must go through a four-week course that teaches first aid, CPR, and several different scenarios to retrieve personnel from the water. “SAR school can be considered very tough, but I found it really fun,” Mango said. “It challenged me to become a better swimmer and be aware of my surroundings.” Mango, an undesignated seaman, said he wants to become a hospital corpsman, and being a SAR swimmer will help him towards his goal.

Chancellorsville is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

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