Submitted by NAS Whidbey Island
The search and rescue team stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island launched at approximately 4:10 a.m. on Nov. 11 to pick up a 79-year-old male from Friday Harbor Airport for a medical evacuation. After a short flight, the SAR team landed and performed a 30-minute transfer of the patient onto the helicopter. By 5:15 a.m., they landed at St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham where they transferred the patient to higher care.
Naval Air Station Whidbey Island SAR has conducted 51 total missions throughout Washington state this year, including 37 rescues, four searches and 10 medical evacuations.
The Navy SAR unit operates three MH-60S helicopters from NAS Whidbey Island as search and rescue/medical evacuation platforms for the EA-18G aircraft as well as other squadrons and personnel assigned to the installation. Pursuant to the National SAR Plan of the United States, the unit may also be used for civil SAR/MEDEVAC needs to the fullest extent practicable on a non-interference basis with primary military duties according to applicable national directives, plans, guidelines and agreements; specifically, the unit may launch in response to tasking by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (based on a Washington State Memorandum of Understanding) for inland missions, and/or tasking by the United States Coast Guard for all other aeronautical and maritime regions, when other assets are unavailable.