ANDERSEN AIR BASE, Guam - The Guam-based “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 provided emergency medical lift for a Chinese mariner in distress aboard a Panamanian-flagged dry bulk cargo vessel the morning of April 5.
U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam notified HSC-25 Thursday that the mariner aboard M/V Ruby Enterprise had fallen and needed medical attention. The rescue was delayed until Ruby Enterprise could travel into aerial range of Guam.
The HSC-25 alert search and rescue crew led by aircraft commander Lt. Nathan Gordon successfully retrieved the mariner in distress via helicopter hoist and returned him to Guam Memorial Hospital where he was in critical condition.
“We received the MEDEVAC call early the night before which gave us some time to plan,” said Gordon. “Our planning and early launch time gave this man the best possible chance at recovery. The deck of the ship was not rated for the weight of the MH-60S so my co-pilot Lt. Petersen and I took turns holding a stable hover while Petty Officer Nichols hoisted our flight surgeon, Lt. Kumetz, search and rescue medical technician, Corpsman Turner and rescue swimmer Petty Officer Attebery to the deck of Ruby Enterprise.”
“Receiving medical updates throughout the night from Coast Guard Sector Guam, I knew the patient was in critical condition and that time was of the essence.” said HSC-25 flight surgeon, Lt. Erik Kumetz. “Racing to the ship before first light, I could not be more proud of the professionalism and heroic actions of the crew this morning.”
The incident was the 8th emergency call to HSC-25 by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam and in 2019 to date.
“The Island Knight team continues to win,” said Cmdr. Frank Loforti, HSC-25's commanding officer. "The flight crew executed a flawless MEDEVAC, launching well before sunrise thanks to the maintainers ensuring our aircraft are always ready."
HSC-25 provides a multi-mission rotary wing capability for units in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations and maintains a Guam-based 24-hour search and rescue and medical evacuation capability, directly supporting U.S. Coast Guard and Joint Region Marianas. HSC-25 is the Navy’s only forward-deployed MH-60S expeditionary squadron.
Note: The original version of this story incorrectly stated the mariner was transferred to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam.