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Around The Fleet

Setting Up Pressure

US and Belize divers work together to set up a transportable recompression chamber

Navy divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two (MDSU 2) are in Belize as part of Southern Partnership Station 2014. The MDSU divers will be working with divers from the Belize Coast Guard Service.

"Next week, we're going to be ... discussing the knowledge that they have, the knowledge that we have, how they do things, [and] how we operate," said Navy Diver 2nd Class Mitch Baker, a MDSU 2 diver. "It's just an exchanging of the ways we both operate."

Before the MDSU divers and the Belizean divers start dive operations, there are a few safety items to take care of. One of those items is a recompression chamber. Whenever divers are descending and ascending in the water, there is always the risk of pressure-related injuries like decompression sickness - or "the bends." When someone gets the bends, that person is treated in a recompression chamber.

"A recompression chamber, basically, it's just a tube. We're able to push air into it and pressurize it, and it simulates depth," said Baker.

The MDSU divers will be traveling and diving in four different countries during the Southern Partnership Station mission, and they will be setting up their chamber at each stop.

"We brought the TRCS - the Transportable Recompression Chamber System," said Baker. "It's [the] smallest chamber that the Navy has. We have it on the back of an MTVR (Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement) ... it's a pretty big truck that we have down here. We brought it because of sand, bad ground, stuff like that. It's pretty cool to see it up on a vehicle like that."

The MDSU 2 divers will be in Belize for about two months before moving on to Guatemala, the next stop on their Southern Partnership Station mission. Southern Partnership Station 2014 is a U.S. Navy deployment focused on subject matter expert exchanges with partner nation militaries and security forces in Central and South America and the Caribbean. U.S. military teams work with partner nation forces during naval-focused training exercises, military-to-military engagements and community relations projects in an effort to enhance partnerships with regional maritime activities and improve the operational readiness of participants.