A Chinese national in medical distress is hoisted from the Chinese-flagged vessel Jin Boto to an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, Nov. 20. (U.S. Navy/Lt. Erik Kumetz)

OKINAWA, Japan - The Guam-based “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 responded to a civilian in medical distress request aboard a Chinese-flagged vessel in the Pacific, Nov. 20.

Within three hours of notification by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam of the distressed mariner, a Chinese national aboard the cargo ship Jin Bo, an HSC-25 search and rescue (SAR) crew led by aircraft commander Lt. Jake McMahon launched from Anderson Air Force Base.

The mariner required immediate transport for life-saving medical services.

"It was an all-around team effort from the entire crew that made this event so successful,” said McMahon. “We wouldn't have been able to execute without our excellent maintainers, crew chief, rescue swimmer, SAR medical technician, flight surgeon and co-pilot. It's an awesome feeling getting to accomplish the squadron's mission with the entire HSC-25 team knowing everyone is ready to execute at a moment’s notice!"

The patient was successfully recovered from the vessel approximately 100 miles northwest of Guam and accompanied by the HSC-25 flight surgeon Lt. Erik Kumetz while flown to Guam Memorial Hospital for treatment.

“The medical evacuation of the mariner from the ship’s deck was complex, requiring careful coordination between the pilots and aircrew,” said Kumetz. “I am exceptionally proud of the entire HSC-25 team – from the helicopter crew to all those that help maintain the aircraft – in the safe completion of this rescue at sea.”

The incident was the 20th emergency call to HSC-25 by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam this year and marks 17 recoveries during search and rescue and medical evacuations (MEDEVAC) in 2019.

"HSC-25 is always ready to execute the mission,” said Cmdr. Chris Carreon, commanding officer, HSC-25. “Whether conducting tactical training, supporting other units, or saving lives with SAR/MEDEVAC, the Island Knight team gets the job done right, every time."

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.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Patrick Shea prepares to lower a rescue basket an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter. (U.S. Navy/Lt. Erik Kumetz)

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Cody Manning, seen between the landing gear and cabin of the MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, is raised after assessing the patient. (U.S. Navy/Lt. Erik Kumetz)