SANTA RITA, Guam — The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Sequoia (WLB 215) disestablished their collateral duty dive locker in a shipboard ceremony Feb. 26, as part of the Coast Guard’s overall stand up of the dive rate and consolidation of qualified dive personnel.
Sequoia maintained the last collateral duty dive locker in the Coast Guard to ensure the continuity of dive capabilities in the Western Pacific while the Coast Guard Dive Program established a third regional dive locker in Honolulu.
“The transition from collateral duty diving guarantees that diving is recognized as a crucial tool in the Coast Guard’s toolbox to complete assigned missions,” said Lt. j.g. John Tabb, dive officer aboard Sequoia. For future operations, Sequoia will rely on divers from the Coast Guard Regional Dive Locker Pacific, who are experts in aids to navigation servicing, among other dive missions.
The Coast Guard Regional Dive Locker Pacific was established in Honolulu Summer 2015. Three billets from Sequoia will be transferred to the RDLP and remain deployable throughout the 14th District area of responsibility. Coast Guard divers conduct a variety of missions including aids to navigation, ship’s husbandry, and polar operations.
“Divers enable Sequoia’s crew to maintain essential aids to navigation in areas the cutter cannot operate safely and in close proximity to fragile coral reefs,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jessica Worst, commanding officer, Sequoia. “Sequoia has a proven record of excellence in the region from aids to navigation to law enforcement and regional support. After Typhoon Soudelor we were integral in restoring port operations in Saipan. Sequoia will continue to be a platform for operations in the Western Pacific and when necessary we will draw upon the Regional Dive Locker Pacific to supplement our crew capabilities.”
The creation of the Coast Guard’s new dive rating in April 2015, and subsequent consolidation of divers into regional dive lockers, eliminates the conflicts inherent in a collateral duty assignment, and promotes safety and expertise.
“I’ve seen a lot as a Coast Guard diver; this decision to disestablish the dive locker will ultimately enhance the safety and proficiency of the Coast Guard Dive Program overall, which is a good thing,” said Chief Petty Officer Adam Prater, a diver currently attached to Sequoia. “Improving proficiency throughout the service ultimately improves mission safety and mission execution, which in turn provides a better return on investment to the American taxpayer.”
Sequoia is a multi-mission, 225-foot Juniper-class seagoing buoytender, homeported in Apra Harbor. Since it’s commissioning in 2004, Sequoia maintained a collateral duty dive locker to assist with servicing the floating aids to navigation in the Western Pacific.
In addition to maintaining aids to navigation, Sequoia’s crew conducts search and rescue, fisheries law enforcement, homeland security and living marine resources patrols. The crew comprised of eight officers and 42 enlisted members are responsible for all Coast Guard maintained aids to navigation in the Western Pacific.