Coast Guard, Marine crews collaborate in joint training exercise

A Marine Corps 1st Reconnaissance Battalion small boat crew navigates the waters of San Diego Bay during a joint hoist training exercise with Coast Guard Sector San Diego March 19. With one of the Coast Guard's primary missions being search and rescue, the ability to maintain hoist capabilities is critical in order to keep search and rescue operations running.

A Marine Corps 1st Reconnaissance Battalion small boat crew navigates the waters of San Diego Bay during a joint hoist training exercise with Coast Guard Sector San Diego March 19. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexander Gray.

SAN DIEGO – Coast Guard Sector San Diego crew members partnered with the Marine Corps 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during a hoist training exercise over the skies of San Diego Bay, March 19.

Hoist training consisted of two teams, Coast Guard pilots in the air and a Marine Corps small boat crew on the water. Coast Guard aviators dropped a line to the boat crew below, which allowed them to coordinate and hoist a rescue basket from the boat to the helicopter.

“The Coast Guard trains routinely with Coast Guard surface assets for hoist training, typically two to three days per week,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jack Shadwick, the Coast Guard Sector San Diego ground safety officer. “However, this is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to hoist with Marine Open Water Safety Crafts in San Diego.”

Hoist training is when crews use the rescue hoist onboard the MH-60T helicopter to conduct simulated rescues from varying environments such as vessels, cliffs, and urban environments, said Lt. Vincent Knaeble, Coast Guard Sector San Diego MH-60T pilot.

“It is important because hoist training is what allows us to conduct rescues safely, effectively and efficiently,” Knaeble said.

Coast Guard crews regularly participate in exercises in order to ensure readiness and safety of life at sea, which enables them to perform hoists needed to maintain qualifications. These qualifications allow them to perform medevac requests from a boat or ship.

“Working with Marine Corp members enhances interagency cooperation and allows recognition of the capabilities each service and unit provides,” said Shadwick. “Working together means each unit will be better prepared to respond in the event of an actual incident.”

With one of the Coast Guard’s primary missions being search and rescue, the ability to maintain hoist capabilities is critical in order to keep search and rescue operations running.

“Training is vitally important for our pilots, flight mechanics and rescue swimmers to maintain hoist proficiency so when that dark and stormy night comes, we are well prepared to assist mariners in distress,” said Shadwick. “We look forward to future training opportunities with the Marines.”

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