Great Lakes Shipmates of the Week: BM1 Justin Abold, BMC Mark Szoboszlay, BM2 Kristin Pitman, BM2 Jim Myjak and MK2 Mike Starr

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BM1 Justin Abold, BMC Mark Szoboszlay, MK2 Mike Starr, BM2 Kristin Pitman, BM2 Jim Myjak

A team of five instructors led by Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Abold, lead instructer at the National Ice Rescue School, in Essexville, Mich., delivered the Coast Guard’s Ice Rescue Trainer Course this winter. This is the second season of delivery of the Coast Guard’s newest Resident “C” School. Serving alongside Abold for a second year as instructors were Chief Petty Officer Mark Szoboszlay, officer-in-charge at Station Alpena, Mich., and Petty Officer 2nd Class Kristin Pitman, from Station Saginaw River in Essexville. Joining the instructor staff this season for the first time were Petty Officers 2nd Class Jim Myjak,  from Station Sheboygan, Wis., and Mike Starr, from Station Two Rivers, Wis..

The five instructors gathered in early January for a week of course preparation, setup of training rooms, equipment, and personal protective equipment at Station Saginaw River. They are in the midst of six consecutive one-week IRTC courses that will keep them busy through late February. They also delivered the Ice Rescuer Course at Station Portage, Mich., in December to new ready-for operations chiefs — assisting them in their preparation for winter RFOs. 

A National Ice Rescue School instructor demonstrates an ice rescue technique

A National Ice Rescue School instructor demonstrates an ice rescue technique

“Instructors at the National Ice Rescue School are the most proficient ice rescuers in the Coast Guard,” said Abold. “Their proficiency ensures that students graduate with the ability to deliver a standardized ice rescuer course to their unit or local agencies.”

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BMC Mark Szoboszlay discusses an ice rescue technique to studentes at the Bay City, Mich., YMCA.

“The instructors were excellent,” said an anonymous IRTC student. ” They were very knowledgeable, professional and great at training trainers.”

“Ice rescue is dangerous work done in the harshest conditions,” said Mike Hudson, chief of the NIRS. “There is risk with every evolution. This standardized training is designed to ensure the safety and effectiveness of ice rescue teams.”

In addition to teaching IRTC, the instructors have been involved in the ongoing development of

BM1 Jusin Abold trains a student at the National Ice Rescue School

BM1 Jusin Abold trains a student at the National Ice Rescue School

standardized ice rescue equipment, procedures and training. The NIRS also serves as the Coast Guard’s Ice Rescue Operational Test & Evaluation Center, which identifies and evaluates new equipment, PPE, and ice rescue procedures. This winter instructors evaluated footwear, gloves, hoods, and new Sentinel dry suits. The aviation rescue strop was evaluated for potential use by surface ice rescue teams. The ice rescue reach technique and Shepherd’s Crook were reviewed.

Among the Coast Guard’s most experienced ice rescuers Szoboszlay, Abold and Pitman served on the team tasked with review and validation of deliverables from the contractor that designed the IRC and IRTC. They were part of the team that completed the significant final assembly of the courses and then delivered and evaluated the new IRTC as a pilot last year. Each completed the Coast Guard Instructor Development Course and served as instructors at NIRS during the first two seasons of IRTC delivery.

 

 

 

 

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