Friday, October 10, 2014

Navy Divers Return Home from Southern Partnership Station 2014

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jared Aldape

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- Spirits were high as family and fellow service members gathered at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va. to welcome home returning Sailors and Marines from a four-month deployment in support of Southern Partnership Station 2014, October 8.

The joint high-speed vessel USNS Choctaw County (JHSV-2) bustled with activity as dozens of Sailors and Military Sealift Command (MSC) civilian mariners worked together to bring the ship into port. The brow could barely hold back service members as they scrambled aft waiting to reunite with their loved ones and co-workers.

Here, Navy Divers assigned to Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 stood alongside an assortment of specialized dive gear ready to offload after a successful training period.

Navy Diver 1st Class Jose Arbaleaz, assigned to MDSU 2's Company 2-1 was busy safely directing a vehicle against the flow of departing service members.

"We stayed productive during our deployment, and it's not over until we get our gear back to the unit." said Arbaleaz.

More than 10 personnel assigned to Company 2-1 traveled through various countries during Southern Partnership Station 2014. The effort was 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.

Company 2-1 had the opportunity to work with divers at each location.

Navy Diver 1st Class Shawn Gerasimchik, also assigned to MDSU 2, took time while transporting gear to reflect on what he considers to be the biggest impact the divers had made in Belize where they took advantage of the coastal clear water while working with the local Coast Guard.

"I had the chance to create a lasting impression on a foreign country through diving," said Gerasimchik.

Company 2-1 showcased a gamut of diving principles and operations and facilitated a remote operated vehicle (ROV) scenario before dive students in Colombia.

"The time that I spend teaching and helping out others was very rewarding," said Arbaleaz. "I look forward to returning to these places again."

MDSU 2 is an expeditionary mobile unit homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base, Little Creek-Ft. Story in Virginia Beach, Va. They previously conducted successful salvage operations supporting TWA Flight 800, Swiss Air Flight 111, the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minnesota, the Civil War ironclads USS Monitor, CSS Georgia, and recovery of downed F-16Cs off the coasts of Italy and Virginia.

Southern Partnership Station 2014 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.

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