PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) – Sailors aboard amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) participated in a Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) training exercise, May 3, as part of America Amphibious Ready Group’s Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX).
The training scenario gauges the VBSS team’s ability to board a foreign vessel and ensures that the team will be ready as real-life scenarios and situations arise.
“This type of training is always important, because it keeps us alert and reminds us that in a real life scenario, we need to always be ready” said Ensign Barret Goman, the boarding officer for Pearl Harbor’s VBSS team.
During the exercise, the VBSS team boarded a role-playing vessel and confronted personnel who played the role of potentially dangerous foreign sailors.
“The most important thing we learned during this exercise was how to maneuver on a foreign ship and how to work as a team to clear the vessel,” said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Ian Orsinger, a member on the VBSS team. “We have to know what to do in every situation and we have to be able to determine if the ship is compliant and non-threatening.”
After a thorough search, the VBSS team determined that the ship and its crew were not dangerous and posed no threat to the surrounding area.
“The crew had all of their documents, and everything checked out okay,” said Orsinger, regarding the simulated VBSS exercise. “They were friendly, and there were no issues that required us to take further action.”
VBSS teams board foreign ships routinely to check documentation, deliver supplies, and check for contraband.
At the end of the evolution, Pearl Harbor’s VBSS team accomplished their goals and learned several valuable lessons.
“This was only the third time we’ve done this, at sea –as a team, since [completing a maintenance availability],” said Goman. “The scenario was difficult, but I think we learned a lot and rose to every challenge we faced. I think we’re a great team, and I think we can accomplish whatever it is we need to do.”
The America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which consists of Pearl Harbor, the amphibious transport dock USS San Diego (LPD 22) and amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) is currently underway conducting a composite training unit exercise (COMPTUEX) off the coast of Southern California, in preparation for the ARG’s upcoming deployment later this year. COMPTUEX is designed to bring every part of an ARG together to work effectively and efficiently as one cohesive unit, ensuring overall readiness for deployment.
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