ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The Guam-based “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 responded to a search and rescue (SAR) request from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam for three missing hikers, June 14.
The three men were reported missing late on Saturday in the Pagat Caves area on Guam’s eastern shore. Guam Fire and Rescue launched a ground search party the following day and located the three survivors at 12 p.m. but due to severe dehydration and heat stroke, the survivors were unable to hike out of the area.
The Coast Guard contacted HSC-25 and requested air support at 4:50 p.m. The rescue helicopter, piloted by Lt. Pierre Ramos and Lt. Frank Conenna, was on scene less than two hours later. Once overhead, Naval Aircrewmen (Helicopter) 2nd Class Tyler Alani lowered Naval Aircrewmen (Helicopter) 2nd Class Alexander Taylor to the survivors 70 feet below through the trees. The hikers were cared for by Hospitalman Nolan Turner en route to Naval Hospital Guam, where the rescue helicopter landed at approximately 7:20 p.m.
“The crew came in ready to [go]. Everyone had their responsibilities, played their part, and we executed the mission like we're trained to do,” said Ramos. “Our maintenance department had that bird ready to go with no delays. We arrived overhead quickly, found the survivors, and hoisted them up. The smooth execution of this overland SAR is a true testament to the training conducted here in HSC-25.”
The incident was the 14th Search and Rescue operation conducted by HSC-25 in the last year and marks 18 lives saved.
“HSC-25’s unique ability to launch SAR and [medical evacuation] missions on short notice, 24/7 is the trademark of our squadron,” said Cmdr. Christopher Carreon, commanding officer, HSC-25. “Every Island Knight should be proud of the hard work we are doing every day to be ready to execute our mission. Our team is here to get the job done around the clock, whether it is conducting training missions, supporting other units, or enabling vital life-saving operations like this to support emergency services in Guam and the CNMI.”
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.