Cambodian diving exercise continues aboard Safeguard: an insider’s perspective

The following blog post is written by Warrant Officer Three Mike Miller, the officer-in-charge assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) One.

We’re now in our fifth full day of bilateral training with divers from the Royal Cambodian Navy (RCN).

A U.S. Navy diver assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One aboard USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) plays the role of an injured diver during a classroom training event with divers from the Royal Cambodian Navy. Safeguard is currently deployed to Cambodia for a two-week dive exercise with the Royal Cambodian Navy as part of the annual, bilateral Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise. U.S. Navy photo by CWO 3 Mike Miller/Released.

A U.S. Navy diver assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One aboard USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) plays the role of an injured diver during a classroom training event with divers from the Royal Cambodian Navy. Safeguard is currently deployed to Cambodia for a two-week dive exercise with the Royal Cambodian Navy as part of the annual, bilateral Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise. U.S. Navy photo by CWO 3 Mike Miller/Released.

At the Royal Cambodian Navy base of Ream, where the bulk of the training has taken place to date, we’re making significant strides in sharing best practices and techniques in dive and salvage operations. I am extremely pleased with how things are progressing and the RCN divers are very keen to learn. 

Primarily, we’re training RCN divers to dive using the self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, also known as “SCUBA.”

In shallow waters with clear visibility, we’re focusing on a variety of in-water proficiencies including mask clearing procedures, equipment recovery and buddy-breathing techniques. Overall, the RCN divers are becoming more confident in the water with each evolution.

Prior to the at-sea dive exercise, we held classroom training where we covered a variety of topics including familiarity with dive equipment and maintenance. The RCN divers seemed to enjoy the hands-on training.

Training resumes Monday aboard Safeguard for the remainder of the exercise. Safeguard and embarked divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One, Company 1-3, are visiting the Cambodian port of Sihanoukville to conduct a dive exercise with counterparts from the RC. Sihanoukville has a population of about 200,000 and is located on the Gulf of Thailand about 115 miles from Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh.

The dive exercise is part of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise—a five-month-long series of maritime training exercises between the U.S. Navy and naval forces from Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste. Safeguard’s civil service master Capt. Ed Santillan describes the exercise as “an event designed to build interoperability and strengthen relationships between the U.S. and Cambodian navies.” The exercise began last week and continues through early November.

 

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