Coast Guard medevac man from Alamagan Island to Saipan

The Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry's small boat approaches the coast of Alamagan Island. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Cutter Oliver Henry.)

The Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry’s small boat approaches the coast of Alamagan Island. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Cutter Oliver Henry.)

SANTA RITA, Guam — The Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) crew, with assistance from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Fire and EMS, medically evacuated a 30-year-old man with head and neck injuries from Alamagan Island to Saipan arriving on Monday, May 8, 2023.

“I am immensely proud of the medical evacuation conducted by the crew of the USCGC Oliver Henry, in partnership with DFEMS, in the Northern Mariana Islands. This successful mission is a shining example of the power of partnerships between government agencies and our ability to work together to achieve a common goal. At the heart of our mission is a commitment to saving lives, and this recent operation demonstrates our unwavering dedication to that cause.”

The crew safely embarked the man and delivered him to awaiting emergency medical personnel in Saipan in stable condition. Alamagan is 140 nautical miles north of Saipan.

“It was all hands on deck throughout the night to safely transport the injured member to Saipan during the 14-hour journey from Saipan to Alamagan and back,” said Lt. Freddy Hofschneider, commanding officer of USCGC Oliver Henry. “I want to give a special shout-out to BM2 Lewis for incredible boat driving and CS1 Pablo for providing top-notch medical care.”

U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam Joint Rescue Sub-Center watchstanders received a request from the Saipan Emergency Operations Center team Sunday afternoon to medically evacuate a man reportedly suffering from severe headaches and swelling related to a speargun accident.

The watchstanders consulted a U.S. Coast Guard flight surgeon who recommended the evacuation and agreed with the plan to have the USCGC Oliver Henry, already on operations in the vicinity of Saipan, travel to Alamagan, embark the man, and return to Saipan. The U.S. Navy’s Helicopter Sea Combat Rescue Squadron 25 was on standby in the event of a rapid decline in the man’s condition.

The Oliver Henry crew arrived at Alamagan before midnight and completed the man’s transfer from shore using their small boat without incident.

“CS1 Pablo and our embarked DFEMS EMT, Firefighter Castro, had to wade their way through the water and climb up the volcanic boulders that make up the shoreline with their EMT gear before hiking up to the village to meet with the patient. BM2 Lewis precisely positioned the small boat against the shoreline boulders in darkness to safely recover the patient, escort, and two EMTs. BM1 Morgan and MK1 Somera, our boat crew, were integral to this smooth evolution. Once aboard the Oliver Henry, CS1 Pablo and Firefighter Castro conducted a medical check on the patient every 15 minutes until we moored in Saipan.”

The Oliver Henry crew completed the medical evacuation, returning to Saipan around 6 a.m. Monday. The crew was greeted at the pier by the man’s family members and the mayor of Northern Islands, along with the EMTs and ambulance crew.

“As we continue to face new and evolving challenges in the years ahead, I am confident that we will continue to work hand-in-hand with our partners to ensure the safety and well-being of all those we serve,” said Simmons.

The Oliver Henry is the 40th 154-foot Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutter named for Oliver T. Henry, Jr., an enlisted African American Coast Guard member first to break the color barrier of a then-segregated Service.

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