Thursday, September 18, 2008

USS Boone Rescues Migrants at Sea

USS Boone (FFG 28) rescued 50 migrants while investigating a suspicious vessel Sept. 3.

Joint Interagency Task Force South directed Boone to deploy its rigid-hull inflatable boat to search a suspicious vessel. Boone's boarding team pulled alongside and was granted permission to board the vessel. When the team investigated, they discovered 50 migrants crowded together aboard the vessel.

Boone's boarding team interviewed the migrants and decided to transport them to the ship for their health and safety. Once aboard Boone, the crew provided the migrants with a medical examination, food, clothing and shower facilities.

Aviation Electronics Technician Airman Michael Roggio, one of Boone's search and rescue swimmers, appreciated the opportunity to help the migrants.

"It was a special experience for me to get to do something humanitarian," said Roggio.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (FMF) Vincent De La Ossa administered medical exams to all of the migrants.

"I am very lucky to help those less fortunate than me," said Ossa.

Boone is deployed in the Eastern Pacific Ocean conducting counter-illicit trafficking operations under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet, and tactical control of Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S).

Typically, this involves the detection and interdiction of narcotics smugglers; however, the prevention of human trafficking is also a goal for Sailors deployed to the U.S. Southern Command area of focus.

Boone, homeported in Mayport, Fla., is deployed with embarked Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 42 and U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 406.