U.S., Japan Guardians join forces for search and rescue exercise

Crews from the U.S. and Japan Coast Guard completed a rare but important multi-agency training exercise on the island of Oahu May 26. The exercise simulated the interaction between the two services during a rescue at sea and offered both agencies the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their counterparts’ operating procedures.

Approximately 30 Japan Coast Guard cadets aboard the training vessel Kojima were able to receive hands-on training alongside Hawaii’s Coast Guardsmen.

The scenario was typical for the men and women of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District.

A U.S. Coast Guard rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point dropped a training dummy approximately 10 miles south of Oahu for the Japan Coast Guard crew to search for and rescue. In Honolulu, watch standers from the Joint Rescue Coordination Center relayed position information about a simulated sinking vessel. The Japanese crew located the training dummy and picked it up with their small boat crew and practiced resuscitation techniques. The small boat crew then quickly transported the training dummy to the Kojima where the helicopter crew landed to medically evacuate the dummy.

Both Coast Guard teams were pleased with the training.

“This opportunity is important to both Coast Guard agencies, as it allows each of us to interact with one another in a realistic rescue scenario,” said Lt. Andrea Holt, a search and rescue controller and one of the U.S. Coast Guard officers who coordinated the exercise. “The knowledge we gain from this exercise will improve our coordinated operations and help keep the Pacific (Ocean) safe for all mariners.”

Lt. Cmdr. Goro Shigematsu, of the Japan Coast Guard Education and Training Division, said his cadets learned much about search and rescue techniques and formed a bond with their shipmates in the U.S.

“Having this opportunity deepened the mutual understanding between both Coast Guard agencies,” said Shigematsu.

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