Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Ryan Smith, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Japan
YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- USS Essex (LHD 2) Sailors are participating in a coxswain training course provided by The Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka July 19-30.
Essex Sailors learned rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) maneuvering and navigation techniques as well as necessary safety procedures during the two-week class.
"We want all Sailors attending the course to under standing the basic fundamentals for operating a RHIB on the water," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class (SW) William Geurin, a CSCS instructor. "The class is about combining navigation with learning how to safely operate a RHIB around other water craft and knowing what maneuvers to execute at the proper time."
The coxswain instructors stay busy as they are responsible for giving coxswain training to all Navy and Marine Corps forces in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility from Japan to Guam and Diego Garcia.
"The training is put to use a lot in the fleet, from dropping a RHIB in the water, to transporting personnel from ship to shore and participating in man overboard recoveries," said Geurin. "We also work with visit, board, search and seizure teams boarding other vessels."
After a week of classroom training, students put their knowledge to use in an actual RHIB.
"This was my first time driving a boat and it's not as easy as it looks, it takes time and practice to get everything down," said Boatswain's Mate Seaman Apprentice Stasha Carsongreen, a coxswain class student. "Back on the ship, we employ our training for well deck operations and man overboard recoveries, and now I can park a boat better than I can park a car."
During small boat operations, the coxswain acts as pilot of the boat and is responsible for operations on the boat.
"For a junior Sailor it's a unique experience to be the pilot of a boat and be responsible for other people," said Carsongreen. "It's a break from the usual day's work and I had fun while learning how to be a coxswain."
Essex is permanently forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, and is in Yokosuka for a regularly scheduled training availability.