Korean Navy assists in medical evacuation of US Navy destroyer sailor

Sailors remove chocks and chains from a Republic of Korea Navy UH-60 Black Hawk aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) during a medical evacuation of a Decatur sailor. Photo: US Navy

The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) helped U.S. Navy’s guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73) conduct an emergency medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) of a sailor in need of medical attention on September 11.

At approximately 11 a.m., Decatur notified Commander, Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 15 that a sailor on board required MEDEVAC.

Decatur was over a hundred miles from shore and did not have an embarked helicopter aboard, nor were they in close range to available U.S. air assets. Commander, Naval Forces Korea was then requested to assist in coordination with ROKN.

Within hours of the initial report, the Republic of Korea Navy’s 631 Squadron launched a UH-60 Black Hawk from Pohang to transport the Sailor. While Decatur sped to close within helicopter range of the mainland, the medical team aboard Decatur provided continuous care for the Sailor.

As the UH-60 flew toward Decatur, a ROK Air Force HH-60 from 233 Squadron out of Chongju departed with a medical team to meet the Sailor on the island of Ullueng-do. The team then transported the sailor to the mainland, where the sailor is currently being treated by medical personnel at Ajou University Hospital.

Homeported in San Diego, Decatur is currently underway in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region as part of a U.S. 3rd Fleet Pacific Surface Action Group (PAC SAG) with the guided-missile destroyers USS Spruance (DDG 111) and USS Momsen (DDG 92), under the operations of Destroyer Squadron (CDS) 31.

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