NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. – A Search and Rescue (SAR) team from Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island conducted a Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) on Saturday, March 12, 2016, from Naval Hospital Oak Harbor.
The SAR crew of five took off around 2:30 in the afternoon to deliver a pregnant patient suffering from a fetal emergency and pre-term labor. They flew to the helicopter pad at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma to transfer the 37-year-old female to higher care. Although the winds had calmed considerably from earlier in the day, there was still a significant amount of turbulence and patchy storm cells to contend with along the way.
“After several months of arduous training, this was my first mission at NAS Whidbey Island,” said SAR Copilot, Lt. Kellen Odom. “It is really rewarding to see all of the pieces come together and the true team mentality that our unit embodies in order to help a member of the community.”
This was the fourth MEDEVAC of 2016 for NAS Whidbey Island SAR, which has also conducted two rescue operations this year. In 2015 the unit conducted 19 Medical Evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions, 11 searches and seven rescues, resulting in 29 lives delivered to higher level care.
The Navy SAR unit operates three MH-60S helicopters from NAS Whidbey Island as search and rescue platforms for the EA-18G aircraft as well as other squadrons and personnel assigned to the installation. The base also has an agreement to assist Washington State with medical evacuations and search and rescue activities.