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ESG 7 / CTF 76 News
NEWS | May 22, 2020

HSC-25 provides urgent MEDEVAC from cruise ship

By Lt. j.g. William Zell

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (May 22, 2020) – The Guam-based “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 responded to a medical evacuation request for a patient requiring emergency medical treatment, May 16.

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam notified HSC-25 of the patient in critical condition requiring immediate transport for emergency surgery. The HSC-25 Search and Rescue duty crew, led by squadron Executive Officer, Cmdr. Thomas Butts, launched shortly after sunrise to recover the patient from the cruise ship Pacific Princess north of Saipan.

“[Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class] Cuevas did a fantastic job of getting the patient off the cruise ship in a safe and timely manner and to Saipan Hospital staff with the aid of HSC-25 maintenance, the Pacific Princess crew, and U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam,” said HSC-25 flight surgeon, Lt. Tracey Kim. “I'm especially proud of our helicopter crew, since for some, this was their first rescue.”

Hoist operators Naval Aircrewmen (Helicopter) 1st Class Frank Ellsworth and Naval Aircrewmen (Helicopter) 3rd Class Ryan Horn recovered the patient via rescue hoist, assisted by co-pilot Lt. j.g. Samuel Ericksen. Lt. Kim and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Joshua Cuevas then administered medical treatment to stabilize the patient en route to Saipan Hospital, where the patient was turned over to medical staff for follow-on care just over an hour after recovery.

“After an early morning call, the Island Knight team went into action. The maintenance crew prepped the aircraft while the flight crew planned, briefed and executed [operational risk management]. From initial notification through the course of the six-plus hour mission, every Island Knight involved performed their duties exactly as trained. The entire team’s efforts ensured a safe MEDEVAC was executed and a life was saved,” said Cmdr. Butts.

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 helicopter sea combat squadron.