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 Chinese-flagged vessel in the Pacific, Aug. 6.
Within two hours of notification by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam of the distressed mariner, a Chinese national aboard CSC Brave, an HSC-25 search and rescue crew led by aircraft commander Lt. Cmdr. Philip Pretzinger departed Andersen Air Force Base.
“Despite the adverse weather and sea state, the team was able to execute a precision litter hoist from CSC Brave,” said Pretzinger. “Lt. Erik Kumetz and Petty Officer Kyle Bowen performed a harrowing in-flight blood transfusion, ultimately saving the patient’s life.”
The mariner was airlifted to Guam and transported to Guam Memorial Hospital for medical care.
The incident was the 18th emergency call to HSC-25 by U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam this year and marks 16 recoveries during search and rescue (SAR) and medical evacuations (MEDEVAC) in 2019.
“HSC-25’s ability to launch our aircraft on a moment’s notice for a SAR or MEDEVAC is astounding,” said Cmdr. Frank Loforti, commanding officer of HSC-25. “Just two weeks after rescuing a distressed mariner, the team was once again able to flawlessly execute a rescue under the most demanding of circumstances. Every Sailor should be proud of the lives we are able to save and the support we provide to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.”
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.