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    New York Sailors race the clock for small-boat operations

    ARABIAN SEA (NNS) –At any moment aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), you may hear the call to man the boat deck. When that call comes, Sailors run as fast as they can to get to man their stations.

    Time is of the essence for the team that mans the New York’s rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIB).

    "To put the ready life boat in the water, it takes about five to 10 minutes from start to finish," said Lt. j.g. Kyle Coia, a boat officer. "Recovering crew members quickly is very important. Rigid hull inflatable boats are meant to provide small command control outreach for the ship they are embarked on. They are also are used for search and rescue (SAR); visit, board, search and seizure operations; navigation and depth verification operations; personnel transfers; and logistics operations."

    The RHIB team is made up of five personnel. That team includes a boat officer, a coxswain (who drives the boat), a boat engineer, a bow hook operator (who assists in launching and recovering) and a SAR swimmer. All five roles are essential to the operation and the Sailors who are manning the RHIB may be called upon to stay on station for hours at a time.

    "I have stayed in the RHIB for roughly 10 hours,” said Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Austin Burns, the New York’s primary SAR swimmer.

    As part of a RHIB's crew, the boat engineer is counted on to keep the RHIB running to ensure safe travel to and from the ship.

    “I am responsible for responding to any equipment failures that may occur on the boat,” said Machinist Mate 2nd Class Christopher Smudzinski, the New York’s primary boat engineer. “I will do anything in my power to make sure that anyone in the boat will make it back to their family safely.”

    Everyone on the RHIB team is ready in a moment’s notice and is prepared to do whatever the mission entails.

    “I always get a rush when it’s time to get in the boat,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class James Thomas, the New York’s primary coxswain. “Something about being in a small boat out on the open ocean just feels so exciting to me. .This is why I signed up and why I took an oath to protect my country.”

    When the call over the New York’s one main circuit comes to “man the ready life boat,” each Sailor is ready at all times to get the job done.

    As part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group, with the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), amphibious dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51), and embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the New York’s RHIB team is prepared to assist in any mission while deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
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    Date Taken: 03.04.2020
    Date Posted: 03.15.2020 15:35
    Story ID: 365253
    Location: ARABIAN SEA

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