Guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) assisted four stranded mariners in the waters off San Clemente Island Nov. 28 while conducting routine training operations in the Pacific Ocean.
“The United States Navy always stands ready to provide assistance,” said Cmdr. David Oden, Benfold’s commanding officer. “It was our privilege to help these seamen.”
Benfold initially detected the small fishing craft using the ship’s state-of-the-art optical sight system. The ship deployed a rigid-hull inflatable boat with engineers and medical personnel aboard to assess the condition of the vessel and crew, as well as render assistance. A helicopter assigned to the “Wildcards” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 provided aerial support during the assistance operation.
After determining that the small boat was no longer seaworthy, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sea Otter quickly responded in order to take the mariners aboard and their vessel in tow.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my crew for going above and beyond,” said Oden. “Particular credit was given to Fire Controlman 3rd Class Lisa Stamp for first sighting the craft. It’s exceptional Sailors like FC3 Stamp that make this the best ship in the Navy and the best Navy in the world.”
Benfold is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer homeported in San Diego. The ship has a crew of approximately 300 Sailors and serves as one of the Navy’s premier ballistic missile defense ships.
Naval Today Staff, November 30, 2011; Image: navy