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USS New Orleans Sailors and Marines Practice Detainee Operations at Sea

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Sailors and Marines aboard amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) participated in detainee handling training Oct. 4 as part of a two-week certification exercise taking place off the coast of Southern California.

The training was conducted in cooperation with the ship's visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team and members of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit's (MEU) Maritime Raid Force (MRF).

The purpose of the training was to ensure that personnel on the ship would be able to properly handle a detainee in the event the ship's VBSS or MRF team was to apprehend one during a mission. Detainee operations training is also part of New Orleans' overall certification process as it prepares for a scheduled deployment.

"You never know what could happen," said Chief Master-at-Arms Edward Mendoza, lead coordinator for the training. "The biggest thing is safety; you have to know how to handle yourself and the detainee."

Mendoza said the course went over the basic fundamentals of detainee handling, which include escorting a detainee, cuffing, and standard self-defense tactics.

"I volunteered because I would be someone who's out there [on a VBSS team]," said Personnel Specialist 2nd Class Melissa McLellan. "You never know where you're going to be and who you may pick up. It's important you know all the basic techniques in how to handle detainees."

Mendoza said the training session is the first of many to follow.

"You can't learn everything in one afternoon," he said. "It takes a lot of training to make sure you know how to handle everything properly, and I look forward to holding more classes."

New Orleans is assigned to Amphibious Squadron 5 and, along with embarked Marines from the 11th MEU, part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group.

Commissioned in 2007, New Orleans is the second of the San Antonio-class transport dock ships. Its warfighting capabilities include a state-of-the-art command and control suite, substantially increased vehicle lift capacity, a large flight deck, and advanced ship survivability features that enhance its ability to operate in the littoral environment.

Article by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dominique Pineiro, Amphibious Squadron 5 Public Affairs