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    USNS Safeguard’s Finishes Strong During Rim of the Pacific 2016

    USNS Safeguard dive operations during Rim of the Pacific 2016

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Troutman | 160726-N-ON468-321 PEARL HARBOR (July 26, 2016) Military Sealift Command rescue and...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeffrey Troutman 

    Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet       

    USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50), a Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship, may be approaching its August 2016 deactivation date, but the ship is seeing its final missions as part of Rim of the Pacific 2016 wind down with considerable success.

    Safeguard, in operation for nearly 34 years, marked the 25th iteration of RIMPAC by assisting the Chinese navy with several first-ever diving and search-and-rescue missions in conjunction with the U.S. Navy.

    “It’s been a very successful run for the Safeguard during RIMPAC 2016,” noted Captain Mark Wilson, Master of the Safeguard. “Everyone has been very pleased with the submarine search-and-rescue operation we had a hand in, and the Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit dive training we’ve assisted in have received high-praise as well.”

    Wilson is sad to see the Safeguard being deactivated after its longstanding reputation for success, but is proud of the legacy the ship leaves behind.

    “This ship is in remarkable shape for all the missions she’s assisted in,” said Wilson. “A lot of what we do is going from country to country, assisting in rescue missions, salvage operations, training the riders who tag along with us…it really is a multi-faceted ship in every sense of the word. She’s done a lot of good representing out country during maritime operations.”

    In recent years, Safeguard has assisted in such notable world events as the March 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the April 2014 sinking of the MV Sewol of the coast of South Korea. Its reputation for search and rescue operations enabled it to play a significant role in a practical submarine rescue exercise conducted in the Pacific Ocean during RIMPAC on July 13. The exercise saw service members from the U.S. Navy’s submarine community work with the Chinese navy in launching an undersea rescue vehicle LR-7, conducting a successful mating evolution with a faux NATO rescue seat.

    The exercise was notable in that it was Safeguard’s first time ever working with the Chinese navy.

    “Our work with the Chinese navy in this year’s RIMPAC exercise went smoothly and illustrated the cooperation and interoperability between our two Navies,” said Safeguard Third Officer Margaret Queally. “Training with the Chinese in this event illustrates to both nations that, should an emergency occur, both Navies can operate jointly to perform a successful rescue.”

    Wilson said that despite the ship’s upcoming deactivation, he felt the Safeguard’s reputation for search-and-rescue assistance set a precedent for other ships of its class.

    “Search and rescue and salvaging is what this ship does,” said Wilson. “The people we work with change, but the mission is always the same. The crew of this ship is very well-bonded, and they can leave behind this vessel knowing they did a terrific job during RIMPAC 2016.

    Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

    For more information about RIMPAC 2016, visit:



    Date Taken: 07.27.2016
    Date Posted: 07.28.2016 16:53
    Story ID: 205294
    Location: PEARL HARBOR, HI, US 

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