The U.S. Navy’s Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) evacuated a mariner from a U.S. Army logistics support vessel (LSV) in the early hours of May 15.
After reaching the LSV, Lake Erie deployed an embarked helicopter to retrieve the distressed mariner.
The mariner was brought aboard Lake Erie, and his condition was assessed in the ship’s medical facility.
Lake Erie’s Air Detachment Officer in Charge Lt. Cmdr. Keith Johnson spoke about the challenges the aircrew experienced during the MEDEVAC.
“This was a unique situation, because the Army ship we were flying to was not air capable,” said Johnson. “We had to do a hoist MEDEVAC where we lowered a basket with our aircrewman and lifted the patient up in it. The only safe place to lift him from was the ship’s well deck. We didn’t have much room. The deck was slippery, and the ship was rolling significantly.
The patient was later flown from Lake Erie to Tripler Army Medical Center in Oahu, Hawaii, for additional care.
Johnson added that there was a very thorough discussion before they left, and they studied photos of the ship to ensure that they had a definite plan of action.
This is the second rescue mission for Lake Erie in the last two months. The first occurred March 19, while underway conducting a composite training unit exercise with the Nimitz carrier strike group. Lake Erie provided assistance to 25 mariners after receiving a call of a civilian ship taking on water.
Lake Erie started her independent deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East earlier this month in support of maritime security operations and theater cooperation efforts.