By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jackie Hart, USS Farragut Public Affairs
RED SEA (NNS) -- The guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut (DDG 99) and an embarked detachment rendered aid to a distressed fishing vessel in the Red Sea, Sept. 8.
Farragut Sailors and an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter crew assigned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 46 noticed the disabled boat.
Farragut's visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team approached the vessel and found three fishermen inside.
"We found a small boat that appeared to be dead in the water, and as we approached them it became apparent these men were extremely dehydrated and hungry," said Lt. j.g. Joshua Bowling, Farragut's navigator and VBSS boarding officer. "We learned they had been stranded for three days, and quickly realized how critical it was for us to provide them with nourishment and a way in which to return home."
The team provided food and water and determined what was wrong with their vessel. After discovering the extent of the damage to the motor, the team arranged to have the boat brought onboard Farragut in order to make repairs to the motor.
The next morning, VBSS team members brought the fishermen and their boat aboard Farragut. Each fisherman received a medical assessment from the ship's independent duty corpsman, a change of clothes and breakfast.
"We were able to treat these men for both dehydration and malnourishment initially with small portions of food and bottled water," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jacob Seekins, noting the men had spent the previous three days in 95-degree heat. "They were very appreciative for our services, and though a language barrier existed, it was evident they were genuinely grateful we were able to help."
Machinery Repairman 1st Class Daniel Kerby and Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Jason Derks performed maintenance on the mechanical and electrical systems on the broken motor and successfully returned it to full operation.
"After reconditioning the cylinders and spark plugs and rewiring the engine correctly, both Petty Officers Kerby and Derks had the motor running great in no time," said Chief Hull Maintenance Technician Bryan Hatch, who supervised the repairs.
After determining the outboard motor was fully operational and supplying the fishermen with food, water and fuel to continue their transit, Farragut Sailors lowered the boat back in the water and bid the men safe travels back to their home.
"One of our missions here is building positive relations with local fishermen in order to protect the seas and pattern of life," said Bowling. "I am proud to have been able to help and to be able to say we positively affected the lives of others while operating in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations."
Farragut is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, strike operations in Iraq and Syria as directed, maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the region. The ship is homeported in Mayport, Florida.
Farragut is part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG), which is comprised of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) and USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81).