MCB CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
“A few years ago, we responded to a Marine that went under the surface during a training event,” said Mike Fennema, assistant chief of training with Camp Lejeune Fire and Emergency Services Division. “Even with the Marine swimming in calm waters and our dive team springing to action, the tide took control and the Marine was unable to be recovered.”
To prepare for such life-saving emergency situation, Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Lejeune Fire and Emergency Services Division, the Provost Marshal Office (PMO) and the Onslow Beach Marine Detachment recently conducted an exercise at Onslow Beach simulating distressed swimmers and rescue procedures.
“The purpose of the exercise was to get everyone familiar with the expectations of response, both medical emergency as well as law enforcement,” said Eric Quintero, assistant operations officer, Provost Marshal Office, MCB Camp Lejeune. “Integrating with the Onslow Beach Marine Detachment is integral so that we can not only practice working hand-in-hand, but also to see as a group and benefit from working with the public in regards to our first responder calls for service.”
During the exercise, Sgt. Thomas Seneker, an infantryman with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Installations East, fulfilled the role of a distressed swimmer extracted from rough waters by lifeguards with the Onslow Beach Marine Detachment and given medical treatment by Camp Lejeune Fire and Emergency Services Division once ashore.
“This was the first time in the history of the lifeguard program that we’ve conducted an exercise like this that integrated Fire and Emergency Services Division, PMO and the Onslow Beach Marine Detachment,” said Fennema. “It was eye-opening to see the exercise being conducted live, and to witness the seamless communication and teamwork between the participating lifeguards and first responders.”
With Memorial Day weekend and the summer season approaching, temperatures and safety risks for outdoor events have begun to rise.
“It’s always important to have a plan,” said Seneker. “If you’re going to swim, pay attention to what the lifeguards are saying, pay attention to what the water looks like and don’t get in the water if it is not safe.”
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Onslow Beach Marine Detachment, comprised of active-duty Marines from MCB Camp Lejeune, stands on the Onslow Beach guard towers from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to provide preventative actions in the field of aquatic response and medical response.