Coast Guard medevacs man in severe weather near Dutch Harbor, Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska – Coast Guard crews conducted a long-range medevac of a man from a Military Sealift Command Vessel approximately 1,150 miles from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, May 6.

A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, deployed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter John Midgett, safely landed on the MSC vessel and embarked the man for follow-on transport to Adak, Alaska, Tuesday. He was transferred to awaiting emergency medical personnel for further transport to Anchorage.

The Cutter John Midgett crew received initial notification May 4 that the man was experiencing symptoms of a stroke and pneumonia. The cutter’s crew diverted toward the location of the MSC vessel.

As the cutter and crew headed toward the vessel, they experienced 46 mph winds and 15-foot seas in the Pacific Ocean. Once in range, the crew of John Midgett launched their embarked helicopter crew to reach the man. The weather continued to worsen, and rescue crews experienced sustained 57 mph winds, gusting to 71 mph and seas approaching 30-feet.

“Our entire crew worked feverishly to complete this medevac including the complete ballast of a 21,000 gallon fuel tank to ensure a stable platform for helicopter operations,” said Capt. Teri Jordan, Cutter John Midgett commanding officer. “I am extremely proud of the hard work by my crew and the embarked helicopter crew to safely complete the medevac.”

The MH-65 Dolphin helicopter successfully landed on the MSC vessel, retrieved the ill man to safety and landed aboard John Midgett in 30-foot seas. The cutter crew then proceeded toward Adak to get in helicopter range of the island and seas contusive to launching the helicopter crew again.

Once near Adak, the Dolphin helicopter crew took off from John Midgett and flew through 51 mph winds to transport the man to awaiting emergency medical personnel in Adak.

“When we went to the military vessel to get the man, it was the worst weather I’ve ever had to fly in,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Jentzen Green, an aviation maintenance technician and flight mechanic aboard the Dolphin helicopter. “We experienced hurricane force winds but thankfully with our training and skillset, we were able to safely medevac the man to higher level care.”

The cutter John Midgett is homeported in Seattle and conducts missions in search and rescue, homeland security, maritime law enforcement, and drug and alien migrant interdiction operations from the Bering Sea to Central American waters.

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