U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey L. Adams
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey L. Adams

HSC-25 rescues four from damaged watercraft

by Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two Five
Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Two Five

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (June 4, 2019) – The Guam-based “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 responded to a vessel in distress on June 2.

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam notified HSC-25 of a missing vessel with reported damage and an inability to return to shore. The missing vessel’s emergency beacon started transmitting a signal between Rota and Guam. HSC-25 Search and Rescue, led by Aircraft Commander Lt. Robert Gay, was on scene within 2 hours of the initial call from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam.

The search yielded two sail boats in close proximity, one in distress with a broken sail. The crew executed a rescue of four civilian passengers on board the damaged vessel. All passengers were in stable condition and transported to Andersen Air Force Base. There were no reported injuries and once cleared by base medical personnel, passengers were escorted by security forces to an off-base location to be picked up by family members.

“Upon receiving the search call, our primary concern was finding the precise location of the emergency beacon,” said Lt. Gay. “The crew received an updated LAT/LONG from Coast Guard Sector Guam and found the vessel in distress within moments of arrival. It was a team effort between my co-pilot, Lt. j.g Kyle Webb, on the controls holding the hover, the excellent hoist work from my Crew Chief, AWS1 Christopher Szabo, and AWS2 Kyle Fontenot swimming to the vessel. Our corpsman, HM2 Michael Garver, was ready to administer medical care to all four survivors as well.”

The incident was the 13th emergency call to HSC-25 by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam this year and marks 12 recoveries during search and rescue and medical evacuations in 2019.

“Every rescue HSC-25 launches on directly represents the hard work and dedication that each Sailor pours into these aircraft,” said HSC-25 Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Frank Loforti. “Each of the 12 recoveries we’ve had this half of a year are a huge win and I couldn’t be more proud of the Island Knight 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.

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