PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) – Six Sailors and one Soldier stood proud on the flight deck of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70), May 18, as they were presented Army Achievement Medals for their efforts during a medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) at sea.
Capt. Darren McPherson, Lake Erie’s commanding officer, and Army Col. Dennis H. Levesque, chief of staff, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, presented the medals.
“We didn’t know we’d be receiving those medals,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Benjamin Lariviere of Standish, Maine. “It was a huge honor. It’s not often you hear about Sailors receiving Army awards."
On May 15, after receiving the MEDEVAC request in the wee hours of the morning, Lake Erie dispatched an embarked helicopter assigned to the Scorpions of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 49 Detachment Four to airlift a sergeant aboard an Army logistics support vessel (LSV) in need of medical support.
“It was a joint effort,” said Lariviere. “Between the LSV crew and our crew, we were all in. I did what I was trained to do. But without the guidance of the other corpsmen and the airmen, who knows what would have happened? The aircrew was vital to all of this.”
The patient was brought aboard Lake Erie and was assessed and treated for nearly 15 hours before being flown from the ship to Tripler Army Medical Center in Oahu, Hawaii.
“It felt good to be recognized for something that doesn’t happen every day, said Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Giles Alberts, from Lena, Wisconsin. “Receiving a medal from another branch is something I didn't expect and it's a bit surreal."
After making a brief stop in Hawaii, Lake Erie was rendered honors by the LSV they conducted the MEDEVAC with as the ship departed Joint Base Pearl-Hickam.
“It was a moving moment and a touch of class,” said McPherson. “It’s not often we get to operate with the Army while at sea. It was a show of respect. Col. Levesque and I were both impressed by the young men and women who work at our respective commands. We truly are all brothers and sisters in arms.”
Lake Erie is currently underway on an independent deployment to the Western Pacific and Middle East in support of maritime security operations and theater cooperation efforts.
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For more information please visit the ship’s website: http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/cg70/Pages/default.aspx.