Civil service mariners from Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Grasp completed three days and more than 445 man-hours of improvement projects at the for the Deaf and for the Blind Unit in yesterday.
Grasp arrived in Antigua July 4 as part of a four-month international outreach mission to the . While the ship’s embarked team of 15 Navy divers conducted tailored training and security operations with military divers from , and , Grasp’s civil service mariners sought out an opportunity to do a goodwill project ashore.
The 60-year-old, 3,400 square foot school is attended by 18 deaf and three blind children.
Over the course of July 15-17, all 29 of Grasp’s civil service mariners and the four sailors of the ship’s military detachment spent time, most of it volunteered, working at the school. Three of the embarked Navy divers also participated.
Grasp’s crew pressure washed the building’s exterior, painted all interior and exterior walls – a surface area of more than 11,000 square feet, removed 21 55-gallon lawn bags of trash and landscaped the school’s courtyard.
Grasp’s crew of 29 civil service mariners operate and navigate the ship, while about a dozen specially-trained rescue and salvage divers from the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group Two and Underwater Construction Team One are aboard to conduct diving operations. Grasp also has a permanent detachment of four sailors who operate the communications suite.
Grasp’s current deployment, called Navy Diver–Global Fleet Station 2008, is directed by the U.S. Southern Command and is designed to enhance maritime security in the region.