Naval Air Crewman (Helicopter) 2nd Class Preston Smith swims toward a civilian in distress aboard a sailboat in the Pacific, July 24. (U.S. Navy photo)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - The Guam-based “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 responded to a civilian in distress aboard a sailboat, July 24.

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam notified HSC-25 after the civilian utilized a satellite phone to request assistance. The sailor was injured three days earlier while sailing through a severe thunderstorm aboard the 32-foot sailboat approximately 100 nautical miles west of Guam.

HSC-25 search and rescue, led by aircraft commander Lt. Nathan Gordon, was on scene within two hours of the initial call.

“We were told the gentleman’s health had diminished significantly over a time span of three days,” said Gordon. “The satellite phone was a key tool in today’s rescue. His ability to contact the U.S. Coast Guard and pass us a precise location greatly decreased search time, getting him the medical care he desperately needed.

"The crew worked well together and the whole process was smooth due to the aid up front from my co-pilot Lt.j.g. Caleb French, our crew chief at the hoist AWS2 Dominic Thomas, our rescue swimmer AWS2 Preston Smith, and the medical support from our SAR medical technician, HN Nolan Turner and HSC-25’s flight surgeon Lt. Erik Kumetz," Gordone added. "The medical team was able to immediately push IV fluids to stabilize him until we reached Guam.”

The incident was the 16th emergency call to HSC-25 by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam this year and marks 14 recoveries during search and rescue and medical evacuations in 2019.

“It is an honor to serve with the hard working Sailors of HSC-25,” said Cmdr. Christopher Carreon, executive officer of HSC-25. “This rescue represents how hard each Sailor works to provide full mission capable aircraft so we are ready to support the search and rescue mission of Guam and the CNMI.”

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.