Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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The Berkshires

Naval Militia Members Undergo Waterborne Disaster Training

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Albany/HV: Naval Militia Members Undergo Waterborne Disaster Training
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More than a dozen Naval Militia Members underwent training Friday. The training was designed to help them better handle waterborne calamaties after Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene.

Perhaps the last place where anyone should expect anything to sit still is on the water.

"You have waters, currents, different rivers, different times of the day," said Coxswain Robert Hill of the New York Naval Militia.

Even after 30 years of navigating waters, he knows how unpredictable his job can be.

"Things change," he said.

So, on Friday, two four man crews from the Naval Militia set out on the Hudson River in Shodack State Park, ready to learn some new skills.

"The exercise detachment officer in charge will be tasked with directing the boats to respond to various injects," said Commander Don McKnight.

Drills such as rescuing a man overboard to checking a bridge for potential bombs were all designed to prepare members for real-life scenarios.

"We've looked at different events that have happened across the country, and we've adapted it for our own use," said McKnight.

And, it helps to be prepared for anything, especially after natural disasters such as Irene and Sandy. Naval militia members responded to both incidents. Friday's training was specifically designed so they can better handle those situations in the future.

"What we're trying to do is basically iron out some of the issues that we found with this," said McKnight.

Despite the slew of skills learned, Hill says their mission stays the same.

"We're essentially the eyes and ears on the water, so anything we encounter we need to report it," he said.

And, training has become almost necessary to help these members adapt to the currents of their job.

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