ROTA, Spain – Naval Station Rota hosted Personnel Recovery training for more than 800 Sailors and Marines assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 68 Jan. 10 – 14.
Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, III, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF); Vice Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. 6th Fleet (C6F), recently released messages to 6th Fleet on the importance of Personnel Recovery, emphasizing taking care of troops and being accountable for them.
“Leadership places a high priority on taking care of Sailors and strongly support this step in ensuring we are taking care of our Sailors as our mission set expands in Africa,” said Capt. David Lobdell, director of current operations at NAVEUR-NAVAF/C6F. “We have a responsibility to our Sailors who are deploying to austere environments to ensure they are trained and have processes in place to make certain they come back from these missions.”
Personnel recovery from an isolated event is a broad spectrum term, but the number one focus is accountability.
Instances of being isolated range from a Sailor coming upon an anti-government demonstration by accident to a Sailor detaching from their command in Africa and missing a connecting flight. Where is that Sailor? Can his command get in touch with him?
John Carey, N33, Director Personnel Recovery at NAVEUR-NAVAF/C6F, said as service members find themselves having more non-traditional roles away from friendly forces, they need to have the tools to prevent being isolated, and be reassured there are mechanisms in place to do everything to recover that service member.
“We have a moral obligation to bring you guys home,” said Carey. “It is the right thing to do. It is part of the Warrior Ethos, which echoes through the precepts of the Code of Conduct. This program may sound strange to some people, but this training applies to, not only what you do at work, it can be used in your personal life and with your family.”
Construction Mechanic Nicholas Burbach, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74, which is forward deployed to NAVSTA Rota was grateful for the training.
“I feel more confident about surviving own my own if I get isolated,” said Burbach. “I learned a lot about just staying motivated and it was nice knowing that now matter how long it takes, they will never give up looking for me.”
NAVSTA Rota is a major support site for many missions into Africa, and around the Mediterranean. Rota also is one of two locations in the personnel recovery architecture outside of the United States where reintegration occurs. If an event happens, or an individual is isolated, they are brought back to Rota and reintegrated through a very formal process, making Rota a high priority location for NAVEUR-NAVAF/C6F.
“The end state of personnel recovery is to safely and effectively return recovered personnel to their family and unit,” said Capt. Bill Mosk, commanding officer of NAVSTA Rota. “Rota has the right team of professionals in place to provide outstanding support to our warfighters during the reintegration process.”