Pacific Ocean – During an unprecedented display of joint cooperation, a Canadian helicopter transported an Australian Medical Officer to a U.S. Naval Ship. A Medical Officer from the Australian Frigate HMAS PERTH boarded a Stinger 50 flown from the Canadian frigate HMCS OTTAWA and lowered him to USS CROMMELIN for a medical evacuation.
The unscheduled operation was in response to a Sailor in need of advanced medical care. Taking place at night, the entire action took three hours to plan, coordinate and execute. Displaying incredible flexibility, the multinational coordination embraced the essence of RIMPAC and highlights the importance of joint operations.
About his transfer onto the CROMMELIN, LEUT Will Ho, Royal Australian Navy, stated: “I don’t like it one bit.” This was the first time he had been lowered onto the deck of a ship at sea, at night.
The result of countless hours of training and evolutions, each ships ability to shift gears from their scheduled operation to flight operations without any notice gives great credit to all three countries maritime proficiency in multiple warfare areas.
“We changed course to provide for the best winds and all of a sudden we were at flight quarters,” said Operational Specialist (SW) 2nd Class Todd Schulwitz. “From our flight deck crew to the helicopter pilot, the evolution went extremely smoothly.”
RIMPAC includes a wide range of capabilities demonstrating the inherent flexibility of maritime forces including disaster relief, maritime security operations, sea control and complex warfighting. Add “joint medical assistance at sea” to the above list.
All three ships continue to operate in the waters surrounding Pearl Harbor executing multiple joint operations in support of RIMPAC.