NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- Search and rescue (SAR) swimmers assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) recently took advantage of training opportunities while the ship continues its refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH).
Due to an extended period of time in a shipyard environment, the RCOH process allows few oportunities for SAR swimmers to exercise their skills. Temporary assignments to warships that are getting underway can help facilitate necessary training.
While the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) worked to certify their ship's surface rescue swimmer, the opportunity became available for two Abraham Lincoln Sailors to participate in SAR training.
"Training evolutions are great opportunities to hone our rescue skills," said Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew Young. "Any day I can get in the water is a good day in my book."
While underway with San Antonio, Young also made good use of his in-rate training and helped document the daily evolutions of the ship by telling the story of the crew.
"MCSN Young not only assisted the USS San Antonio in the successful completion of its sea trials; he quickly learned his way around the entire ship," said San Antonio's Command Master Chief Timothy Bailey, who added that Young used his mass communication skills to capture key milestone events while on board. "His direct involvement touched families and friends of the Sailors by posting stories and pictures, increasing the morale throughout the ship."
Intelligence Specialist Seaman Eric Skibinski accompanied Young on board USS San Antonio. Training to become a Navy SAR swimmer is a four-week-long training pipeline in Jacksonville, Florida. During the course of the training, Sailors must prove they are capable of performing advanced life-saving skills during emergency situations.
"The training in Jacksonville was physically demanding and mentally taxing," Young said. "Dealing with the daily grind of training was tough, but knowledgeable instructors and the other candidates made it enjoyable."
Once Sailors complete SAR swimmer training, they stand ready to respond to life or death situations while their ship is out to sea.
"I've been swimming most of my life and it got me interested in becoming a SAR swimmer," Young said. "Balancing my responsibilities within the media department and as a swimmer can get a little hectic at times, but it's what I can do to help get the Lincoln back into the fight."
Abraham Lincoln is currently undergoing RCOH at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Abraham Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz class to undergo an RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone. Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.