MCAST Members Host SME Exchange in Barbados

Story Number: NNS100824-04Release Date: 8/24/2010 2:50:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Rachael Leslie, High Speed Vessel Swift 2 Public Affairs

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (NNS) -- Members of the Maritime Civil Affairs Security Training (MCAST) Security Force Assistance detachment, currently deployed aboard High Speed Vessel Swift (HSV) 2, hosted a two-week subject matter expert (SME) exchange in Bridgetown, Barbados, Aug. 9-20.

Engineman 1st Class Joseph Nicholas and Equipment Operator 2nd Class Jeremy Hall facilitated the maintenance management exchange, which included more than 20 members of the Barbados, St. Vincent and Antigua defense forces, in support of Southern Partnership Station (SPS) 2010.

"The facilitators were very informative and approachable, which made it a very positive experience," said Leading Seaman Alvis Daniel, a member of the St. Vincent Coast Guard who participated in the exchange. "I just wish it could have been longer."

The exchange was divided into three general areas of interest: preventive maintenance, small boat maintenance and fiberglass repair. Each module began with a power point presentation and group discussion covering safety procedures and proper techniques, followed by a longer practical application exercise.

"I think the preventive maintenance is the most valuable portion of the exchange for most countries we visit," said Hall. "Oftentimes, we find that the defense force members know how to operate the engines, but if they don't understand how they actually work, they're unable to perform required maintenance, which significantly decreases the lifespan of the engines."

During the small boat maintenance practical application portion of the exchange, the group swapped out a broken propeller unit with a functioning one, completely disassembled an entire engine with broken parts and repaired it with parts from another engine.

"Getting a whole engine out, apart, repaired and back together again in less than two weeks was a big accomplishment," said Nicholas, who facilitated the small boat maintenance's hands-on portion of the exchange. "These guys were really motivated and even though a lot of them had never done this before, they now have the confidence to continue proper maintenance in the future."

During the two-day fiberglass repair practical application portion of the exchange, the participants had the opportunity to repair abrasions and punctures on the hull of an out-of-service Boston Whaler.

"Everyone responded pretty well to the hands-on portion of this evolution," said Hall, who facilitated the fiberglass repair portion of the exchange. "They were able to practice on the boat currently not in use. Once they get it down, they'll be able to work on their serviceable boats."

SPS 2010's primary mission is information sharing with navies, coast guards, and civilian services in the U.S. Southern Command's Area of Responsibility throughout the Caribbean and Central America. The Swift is scheduled to continue its support of SPS 2010 until early fall.

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