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Peleliu, Coast Guard Assist Merchant Vessel with Medical Evacuation

05 June 2012

From Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Derek Stroop

USS Peleliu assisted the U.S. Coast Guard with a medical evacuation of a 60-year-old man from a merchant vessel off the California coast, June 4.

PACIFIC OCEAN - Amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) assisted the U.S. Coast Guard with a medical evacuation of a 60-year-old man from Merchant Vessel Horizon Spirit, off the southern coast of California, June 4.

Peleliu assisted the Coast Guard by acting as a refueling vessel for their HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter so it could safely evacuate the man to San Diego.

The patient was taken aboard Peleliu where he was medically evaluated and given initial therapeutic treatment while the Coast Guard helicopter refueled.

"The medical capability of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit allows us to provide a broad range of medical care from preventative medicine to life and limb resuscitative surgery," said Cmdr. Brian Mecklenburg, Amphibious Squadron Three surgeon and officer-in-charge, Fleet Surgical Team One. "As such, we are always ready and willing to assist those with medical needs."

"This is very exciting for us. It's really great to use the Peleliu's resources to help someone in this way," said Lt. Cmdr. Cari Matthews, a 15th MEU flight surgeon. "As a doctor, you always want to give people the best care that you can and to be able to provide assistance."

Peleliu was at sea conducting pre-deployment training when the ship received orders to steam toward the motor vessel to provide assistance.

"Even though we were out here to train, real-world situations dictate that we be ready to flex with plans and prioritize depending upon the need," said Capt. James Cox, commanding officer, USS Peleliu. "We are always ready to assist fellow mariners in distress."

The Peleliu Amphibious Readiness Group consists of amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5), amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore (LSD 46), as well as amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), currently not at sea. The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit is embarked during Amphibious Squadron Integration Training.

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