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Rota-based Divers Share Best Practices in Sea Breeze 2017

July 20, 2017 at 11:11 AM UTC
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet Public Affairs

ODESSA, Ukraine - Members of the Rota, Spain-based Construction Dive Det. Alfa from Underwater Construction Team 1 shared best practices with their partners from five other nations during exercise Sea Breeze 2017.

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Sea Breeze is a U.S. and Ukraine co-hosted multinational maritime exercise held in the Black Sea to enhance the interoperability of participating nations and strengthen maritime security in the region.

From July 11 through July 19, the divers participated in classroom sessions at the Western Naval Base in Odessa, Ukraine, and conducted practical exercises in water about 15 minutes from shore.

“We really need to set a baseline for safe and effective diving operations with our allies in this particular region,” said Lt. j.g. Brandon Rivera, the officer in charge of Det. Alfa.

Six divers from the det., plus a medical officer from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, made the trip, he said.

While service members from Canada and the United Kingdom dove with Ukrainians, Romanians and Georgians, the U.S. divers stood by with the re-compression chamber in case it was needed.

“Fortunately, we didn't have to use it,” Rivera said.

The Det. Alfa members conducted underwater searching operations and – in the water with the Ukrainians – practiced emergency action procedures for scuba diving.

In the classroom, the international service members discussed diving illnesses and casualty care, and observed re-compression chamber demonstrations by the Americans.

After just a few hours of learning how to conduct neurological exams for diving illnesses, the Georgian divers recalled, verbatim, the procedures back to their U.S. instructors.

According to Rivera, it was a good moment.

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