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Navy Submarine Rescue Unit Participates in NATO Exercise

By Navy Lt. Rob Tiffin, Submarine Force Pacific

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JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii, Oct. 2, 2017 — Undersea Rescue Command, in concert with nine NATO allies, wrapped up the Dynamic Monarch 2017 submarine search and rescue exercise off the coast of Marmaris, Turkey, Sept. 22.

The NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) submarine Nemo prepares to make a simulated rescue dive as part of NATO submarine escape and rescue exercise Dynamic Monarch 2017 while off the coast of Marmaris, Turkey.   (NATO photo by Denver Applehans/Released.)
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Sept. 20, 2017) - The NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) submarine Nemo prepares to make a simulated rescue dive as part of NATO submarine escape and rescue exercise Dynamic Monarch 2017 while off the coast of Marmaris, Turkey. The NSRS mini submarine can dive to depths of 600 meters and connect to the escape hatch on a submarine in order to rescue sailors inside a distressed submarine. (NATO photo by Denver Applehans/Released.)
The NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) submarine Nemo prepares to make a simulated rescue dive as part of NATO submarine escape and rescue exercise Dynamic Monarch 2017 while off the coast of Marmaris, Turkey.   (NATO photo by Denver Applehans/Released.) Rescue Submarine Nemo
MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Sept. 20, 2017) - The NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS) submarine Nemo prepares to make a simulated rescue dive as part of NATO submarine escape and rescue exercise Dynamic Monarch 2017 while off the coast of Marmaris, Turkey. The NSRS mini submarine can dive to depths of 600 meters and connect to the escape hatch on a submarine in order to rescue sailors inside a distressed submarine. (NATO photo by Denver Applehans/Released.)

A component of Submarine Force Pacific, URC is the Navy's only submarine rescue-capable command and is always on call and ready to deploy around the world in the event of a submarine emergency.

International Exercise

Canada, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the U.S. took part in the NATO-sponsored exercise, which focused on submarine escape and rescue operations.

Turkey hosted this year's exercise, the 10th of a seriesdesigned to demonstrate multinational submarine rescue cooperation and to share submarine escape and rescue-related knowledge among worldwide partners, officials said. The exercise involved a wide array of equipment and up to 1,000 military and civilian personnel.

Three submarines, four submarine rescue ships, five surface ships, four aircraft, three medical teams and a submarine parachute assistance group participated.

Practicing Rescue Operations for Distressed Submarines

URC completed six submarine rescue chamber dives with five open-hatch matings between two Spanish and Turkish submarines positioned in distressed situations and depth scenarios.

A sailor practices submarine rescue.
A Turkish sailor demonstrates how medical staff from the NATO Submarine Rescue System would transfer patients for decompression after a mock rescue during the Dynamic Monarch 2017 exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, Sept. 13, 2017. NATO photo by French Navy Chief Petty Officer Christian Valverde
A sailor practices submarine rescue. Sub rescue
A Turkish sailor demonstrates how medical staff from the NATO Submarine Rescue System would transfer patients for decompression after a mock rescue during the Dynamic Monarch 2017 exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, Sept. 13, 2017. NATO photo by French Navy Chief Petty Officer Christian Valverde

The training also included a coordinated mass evacuation exercise that featured a U.S. submarine rescue chambers flyaway system and a tri-nation NATO submarine rescue system designed to aid personnel and distressed submarines. The NATO Submarine Rescue System mini-submarine Nemo, which participated in the exercise, can dive to depths of more than 1,900 feet and connect to the escape hatch on a distressed submarine to rescue sailors.

The exercise also practiced complex medical operations at sea. Representatives from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Poland, Spain and Sweden were invited to observe the exercise.

"With nearly 40 participating and observer nations, this exercise demonstrated and advanced relationships among our undersea warfare and submarine rescue partner nations," said Navy Capt. Chris Cavanaugh, commander of Submarine Squadron 11. "It also enhanced our own readiness to execute a rescue, should that day come."

URC was originally named Submarine Rescue Unit in the 1960s. It was renamed to Deep Submergence Unit in 1989, and in 2008 renamed to present-day Undersea Rescue Command. URC was recently recognized with the battle effectiveness award for sustained superior performance in an operational environment.
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