USCG ‘recovers’ Army aviators from Pacific

| July 29, 2013 | 0 Comments
An Army pilot dangles from an USCG MH-65C Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point during a joint training exercise conducted between the 2nd Sqdn., 6th Cav. Regt. 25th CAB, 25th ID, and the USCG off the west coast of Oahu, July 17. The exercise was to recover Army pilots who had crashed over water, build confidence in their water survival equipment and familiarize them with USCG recovery techniques.

An Army pilot dangles from an USCG MH-65C Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point during a joint training exercise conducted between the 2nd Sqdn., 6th Cav. Regt. 25th CAB, 25th ID, and the USCG off the west coast of Oahu, July 17. The exercise was to recover Army pilots who had crashed over water, build confidence in their water survival equipment and familiarize them with USCG recovery techniques.

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. William Sallette
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

The Army and Coast Guard conducted a joint search and rescue training exercise, July 17, off the west coast of Oahu.

The training consisted of 25 Army pilots from the 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, being hoisted and recovered by rescue crews stationed at Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point.

Army pilots are required to complete training where they are taught how to properly use their aviation floatation devises and markings, how to egress a helicopter that is underwater and how to contact the necessary agencies that would be needed for rescue and recovery.

Aviation Survival Technician 3 Maiava Ilima (left), a rescue swimmer stationed at Air Station Barbers Point, assists during the training rescue extraction of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Tyson Martin, an OH-58 pilot with 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, during a joing training exercise between 2-6th Cav. Regt. and the Coast Guard off the west coast of Oahu, July 17. The training was to extract Army pilots who had crashed over water in order to build confidence in their survival gear and allow them to understand the different type of rescue techniques. (Photo by Staff Sgt. William Sallette, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Aviation Survival Technician 3 Maiava Ilima (left), a rescue swimmer stationed at Air Station Barbers Point, assists during the training rescue extraction of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Tyson Martin, an OH-58 pilot with 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, during a joing training exercise between 2-6th Cav. Regt. and the Coast Guard off the west coast of Oahu, July 17. The training was to extract Army pilots who had crashed over water in order to build confidence in their survival gear and allow them to understand the different type of rescue techniques. (Photo by Staff Sgt. William Sallette, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Capt. Dustin Perkins, commander, Troop C, didn’t want this type of training to be the only thing his pilots knew; he wanted to add to and give his pilots the opportunity to experience something they commonly wouldn’t.

“Knowing that many of our possible missions could be conducted over water, I wanted to build on the already required water training my pilots have gone through,” said Perkins. “This training will allow them to work with their survival gear a little more. And any time you can conduct training that is tough and realistic, you build confidence in yourself and your equipment, and that is what we are wanting to accomplish.”

This training included rescue swimmers and pilots from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and two 45-foot response boats stationed at Sand Island that assisted by picking up the Army pilots and taking them to the training site off the west coast of Oahu.

The morning started off with a safety brief and orientation from the boatswain’s mates aboard the two response boats, before the Army pilots boarded the vessel and headed out of Ko‘olina harbor. Once the boats arrived on station, approximately a mile or so off the coast, the MH-65C Dolphin recovery helicopter arrived on scene, and the operation was underway.

“This was not only a great opportunity to assist the Army pilots with their training, but it also gave us an opportunity to hone our skills as well,” said Coast Guardsman Lt. Christopher McAndrew, helicopter pilot assigned to Barbers Point. “We fly quite often and have to conduct many rescue missions throughout the year, but this gives us the opportunity to train in a more controlled environment to perfect our rescue techniques.”

The Army pilots jumped into the water with full gear and deployed life vests as the rescue swimmers took turns hoisting the pilots in different fashions. This method was to train them in various techniques of being rescued by aircraft. In just an hour and a half, the rescue crews had extracted 25 Army pilots from the open ocean.

“This was an amazing opportunity to train outside of our comfort zones and create a new partnership with the Coast Guard,” said Perkins. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to conduct training like this and are looking forward to the upcoming opportunities and training we may be able to share with them.”

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Category: Exercises, News, Training

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