Sailors Rescue Tangled Sea Turtle While Conducting Operations in Arabian Gulf

The Navy to the rescue! Sailors on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Howard rescued a sea turtle that was caught in a partially sunken fishing vessel in the Arabian Gulf last Monday. 

A Naval air crewman spotted the boat while conducting helicopter operations. The USS Howard then deployed search and rescue swimmers on a boat to investigate. Once they reached the boat the sailors found the turtle and cut it free. 

“Constant vigilance of our surroundings and the ability to adapt and react to any situation is a goal to which we constantly train,” said Cmdr. Ryan Billington, commanding officer of Howard. “We were able to simultaneously carry out multiple missions. We launched one of our RHIBs to cut free and rescue a sea turtle and used our crew served weapons to sink the vessel completely to make it safe for not only wildlife but the safe navigation of other ships as well.”

Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Scott Stearns was one of the search and rescue swimmers that saved the turtle.

“This was a very unusual rescue,” Stearns said. “We train for rescuing people in SAR school so a turtle is a very different situation, but it was good practice getting into the water for a real-world situation and we were able to cut the turtle free.”

The USS Howard is deployed with a Carrier Strike Group conducting maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf. The ship is homeported in San Diego. 

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