HSC-25 evacuates cruise passenger, fights fire on Nimitz Hill

By By Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet Public Affairs | April 1, 2019

ANDERSEN AIR BASE, Guam (March 29, 2018) – Sailors from the Guam-based “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 provided emergency medical lift for a cruise passenger in distress then assisted with firefighting efforts March 28.

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam notified HSC-25 Tuesday that a Bulgarian man aboard MV Ocean Dream had experienced a medical emergency and needed medical evacuation. The rescue was not executed until Ocean Dream steamed closer to Guam and the alert crew launched at 3:30 pm Thursday. While the rescue mission was underway, HSC-25 was called upon by Joint Region Marianas to aid firefighting efforts in vicinity of Nimitz Hill so a second aircraft was dispatched.

The HSC-25 Alert Search and Rescue led by Aircraft Commander Lt. Michael Sipah successfully retrieved the passenger in distress via airborne hoist and returned him to U.S. Naval Hospital Guam then reconfigured and launched to assist the firefighting effort with Guam Fire Rescue.

“Ocean Dream turned into the wind, making the hoisting evolution seamless,” said Sipah. “My crew worked great together, AWS2 Lee was outstanding at the hoist, AWS3 Morgan handled the rescue litter on deck of Ocean Dream, and of course HM2 Derrick and Lt. Kumetz were phenomenal at stabilizing the patient from the time of being lowered, to the transfer at Naval Hospital Guam.”

The incident was the 7th emergency call to HSC-25 by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam and marks 4 recoveries during search and rescue and medical evacuations in 2019 to date.

“Thursday demonstrated the excellence of the Island Knight team. Being able to safely transition from a MEDEVAC to firefighting from day into night and then to finish the evening with aerial gunnery training is a credit to the professionalism of the aircrews," said HSC-25 Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Frank Loforti. “Those homes are still standing today because of the strength of the interagency partnerships and the hard work of HSC-25's Sailors to ensure our aircraft are always ready. I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team.”

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.