EAST CHINA SEA (NNS) -- A Marine, assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) was medically evacuated (MEDEVAC) from the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) by an MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, assigned to Marine Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262 (reinforced).
Though the Marine's life was not in immediate danger, Bonhomme Richard's medical team took every medical precaution to ensure the best treatment.
"The patient was stable, so his life wasn't in danger at the time," said Cmdr. Frank Axelsen, Bonhomme Richard's Senior Medical Officer, "but if we were to let it go, and it turned out to be what we suspected, then it could have become much more serious."
When the medical team met to discuss options, they agreed the service member's needs would be best treated at a shore-based hospital in Sasebo, Japan. Based on the recent inaugural flights of two MV-22 Ospreys to the U.S. Navy base in Sasebo on March 23, the decision was made to fly the service member ashore for care and only the MV-22 could make the round trip due to distance.
"We have the ability to do surgery on the ship," said Capt. Robert Jackson, officer in charge, Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 7. "But with the long range capability and speed of the MV-22, this provided the Bonhomme Richard's medical team an option to fly the Marine ashore where he could be seen by a first-class hospital in Sasebo to provide both immediate surgery and recovery care."
The MV-22 Osprey combines the vertical capability of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. It can operate roughly twice as fast, can carry nearly three times the payload, and has approximately four times the combat radius of the CH-46E it replaced. MV-22s enhance the Navy-Marine Corps team's ability to conduct amphibious operations and perform humanitarian assistance and disaster response in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operation.
Bonhomme Richard, flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group is comprised of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and the Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48), all forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan.