DVIDS – News – McAllen, a native of Texas, serves aboard USS Antietam as a search and rescue swimmer while conducting operations in the Philippine Sea

Philippine Sea –

A McAllen, Texas native and 2017 Lamar Academy graduate serves aboard the US Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54).

Abraham Guillen is an undesignated seaman who also serves as a search and rescue (SAR) swimmer on the Antietam, which is forward deployed to Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan.

SAR swimmers are essential to US Navy ships during ongoing operations. SAR swimmers are sent into the water to retrieve individuals within minutes and are trained in lifesaving medical support.

“I’m in a position where I’m lucky enough to be able to respond to an emergency,” Guillen said. “It’s a surreal feeling to be able to save someone’s life.”

To qualify as a SAR swimmer, Guillen had to complete a challenging five-week training course for SAR candidates in San Diego, California. While there, Guillen’s skills were tested in areas such as swimming, weight training, and lifesaving medical procedures.

“Being a SAR swimmer is not just about being fit, but also about being medically competent,” Guillen said. “What’s the point if you can pull someone out of the water if you can’t save them afterwards.”

In addition to her SAR swim duties, Guillen enjoys giving back to the ship in other areas. He is currently the fitness manager of Antietam Command; as part of this duty, Guillen regularly conducts workouts for sailors who are in the fitness enhancement program. He was also recently elected chairman of the Morale, Warfare and Recreation (MWR) committee for the Antietam and regularly plans various recreational events for the crew, such as game tournaments and karaoke nights.

“I love going into the mess decks and seeing them decorated at these events,” Guillen said. “It helps sailors get out of the usual routine on the ship.”

Whether in his main responsibilities or in other functions, Guillen enjoys giving back to the Antietam and making himself available to respond to situations.

“What I love about my job as a sailor is that I can respond to a crisis situation, whether it’s waging war on our enemies, fighting a fire or rescuing someone in water,” Guillen said. “I love the feeling I get when I hear those bells, even if it’s something bad, to be able to respond.”

The Antietam returned to sea on May 19 after a ten-month stopover. The ship returned to the Philippine Sea on July 30 from the South China Sea where it conducted a two-week patrol. Its mission during this period was to support a free and open Indo-Pacific, providing a presence as part of the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group. Antietam departed Singapore on July 26 after a scheduled port call.

Antietam is attached to Commander Task Force 70/ Carrier Strike Group 5 conducting underway operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Date taken: 13.08.2022
Date posted: 17.09.2022 06:37
Story ID: 429552

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Brandon D. James