YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Sailors from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) completed a 30-foot ladder climb, Aug. 30, at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka in preparation for the Non-Compliant Boarding Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (NCB VBSS) course held in San Diego.
Thirteen Lassen Sailors participated in the event trying to achieve the required climb-time to qualify for VBSS school later this year. Experts from Afloat Training Group Western Pacific (ATGWP) coordinated and scored the event.
According to Gunner's Mate 1st class Terrance Wright from ATGWP, the 30-foot ladder climb is just one of the VBSS school prerequisites. The other requirements include the 2nd class swim exam, Ship Reaction Force (SRF) basic training and SRF advanced training; all designed to prepare Sailors for VBSS School and real world scenarios.
"Today we were conducting the VBSS ladder climb," said Wright. "It basically gives students an example of the weight they will be carrying while climbing a ladder and boarding a ship."
The 30-foot ladder climb can be a difficult task to complete while carrying weapons and wearing flack jackets and helmets. Besides being tall, and steep, the ladder is free hanging and composed of two ropes and spanning metal bars for rungs. Considering the height and composition of the ladder, the obstacle takes strength, balance and strategy to overcome.
According to Wright, VBSS training is a large part of the Navy's plan to fight the global war on terrorism on the water. This includes boarding and searching suspicious vessels in search of drugs, weapons or any other items that might be used in a terrorist threat or action.
"All the ships are involved now, and this has become a huge part of anti-terrorism," said Wright. "VBSS is a part of the Navy's anti-terrorism plan, and ships will provide two to three, six member [VBSS] teams."
Preparation for VBSS school can become a daunting task for Sailors given the high level of physical readiness needed to complete the school and the qualifications needed to attend.
According to Seaman Jeremy Stoker, a Lassen Sailor and a participant in the ladder climb, the VBSS team has been preparing for the qualification events and the school for the past several weeks including swimming three times a week and regular physical training while attending both SRF basic and advanced training. While the training and conditioning can be demanding at times, Stoker realizes the importance of being qualified and ready for further VBSS instruction.
"This training evolution (the ladder climb) is a [prerequisite] for going to VBSS school," said Stoker. "If you can't climb the ladder now there is no reason to attend the school."
VBSS School is approximately three weeks and the Lassen team will head to training in San Diego once all prerequisites are met. Lassen is forward-deployed and operates out of Yokosuka, Japan.
For more news from USS Lassen, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/ddg82/.