An MH-60S Seahawk assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 performs a medical evacuation of a sailor from Republic of Korea Submarine SSK Lee Eok Gi (SS 071) to hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). (U.S. Navy/MC1 Elizabeth Merriman)

PACIFIC OCEAN - The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) conducted a medical evacuation May 27 to assist a Republic of Korea sailor in need of medical attention. Pacific Partnership 2016 Mission Commander, Capt. Tom Williams, praised the work of the entire mission team to complete the MEDEVAC successfully.

“I appreciate the flexibility and teamwork of the [Military Sealift Command] crew who worked hard this morning to get us in position, as well as our HSC 21 teammates who went out and conducted the personnel transfer with professionalism and safety,” said Williams.

Embarked Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 launched an MH-60S helicopter from Mercy to recover the sailor and returned him to the hospital ship. Crew members facing the challenge of airlifting the sailor from the surfaced submarine relied on training and past experience to find the right procedure to transport him safely.

“We were ready for plans one, two or three and ended up doing plan four. After assessing the situation, the crew chief decided we would rescue him with a strop recovery and it was successful,” said Naval Aircrewmen (Helicopter) 2nd Class Charles Weaver, a Knoxville, Tennessee native, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21.

Mercy is equipped to provide mobile acute medical and surgical services to deployed forces ashore and at sea; and once the patient was safely aboard medical personnel quickly tended to his needs.

“The transporting of the patient went very well,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Autumn Greene, an emergency room corpsman assigned to Mercy. “Once we are done helping a patient and we get that ‘thank you’ it means a lot to us. We may not think we are making much of a difference, but to the patient it means the world.”

The patient wasn’t the only one who recognized the skill and training required for those involved in a MEDEVAC. Mercy Commanding Officer, Capt. Melanie Merrick, said the crew did an excellent job.

“Everything was smooth sailing down there and went according to plan. Keeping the patient safe as well as our own personnel safety in mind. The patient remains stable and we’ll continue to observe,” said Merrick.