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USS Independence Trains Crew To Handle Aircraft

Pierside Simulations Will Lead To Sea Qualifications

Sailors aboard USS Independence (LCS 2), the Navy's newest littoral combat ship, prepared to embark aircraft aboard the ship by conducting simulated training April 6 and 7 in a variety of situations involving aircraft operations, while in port at Naval Station Mayport, FL.

The training, led by a staff of training personnel from the Littoral Combat Ship Squadron (LCSRON), brings both rotational crews aboard Independence a step closer to earning their certification to conduct aviation operations at sea. "This training is about ensuring that the crew is proficient in all the procedures involved in handling aircraft aboard a ship," said Chief Aviation Boatswain's Mate (handling) Marcus Aguirre of LCSRON. "We are here to assist the crew and ensure they are prepared to get it right when it counts."

The training simulated routine aircraft operations such as helicopter launch, landing and refueling. The crew also practiced responding to circumstances as extreme as removing personnel from a crashed helicopter and extinguishing a fire on the flight deck. "Helicopters are vital to the mission of LCS because they extend our ability to monitor and manipulate the surrounding environment," said Chief Boatswain's Mate Joseph Wilson, one of the senior members of the "blue crew" team of Independence Sailors being trained. "By training everyday…it builds our confidence by building our muscle memory for when we are faced with the real thing."

One of the most crucial portions of the training is personnel injury response.

"Immediate medical first-responder treatment could mean the difference between life and death for the pilot and passengers," said the "blue crew" independent duty corpsman aboard Independence, Chief Hospital Corpsman Tricia Loomis. "The first responders must be ready to treat everything from burns to broken bones to life-threatening smoke inhalation injuries that could compromise the airway. It is essential they are familiar with appropriate triage [procedures] to ensure the most immediate injuries and casualties are treated first."

Independence is scheduled to complete their final aviation readiness qualification for both blue and gold crews later this month.

Independence, a high-speed aluminum trimaran that departed the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, AL, March 26, is a fast, agile, mission-focused ship that demonstrates the latest in naval technology. The ship is specifically designed to defeat anti-access threats in shallow, coastal water regions, including surface craft, diesel submarines and mines. LCS features an interchangeable modular design that allows the ship to be reconfigured to meet mission requirements.

FMI: www.navy.mil/local/LCS2/

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