Thursday, December 11, 2008

European Command coordinates difficult rescue at sea

By Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Dana M. Clark

U.S. European Command Headquarters and U.S. Air Forces-Europe joined forces to conduct a long distance rescue mission off the coast of Ireland, Dec. 10, 2008.

The Rescue Coordination Center in the United Kingdom contacted the U.S. military requesting assistance to evacuate a severely injured crewman onboard the M/V Anna Rickmers, a cargo ship operating 460 miles offshore.

The U.S. military dispatched two HH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Lakenheath, U.K., along with an MC-130 Hercules airplane and KC-135 refueling aircraft, both from Mildenhall, U.K., to conduct the rescue.

USEUCOM's Joint Operations Center Team Chief, Navy Capt. Gregory F. Stephens, said, "The success of this operation is attributed to the capability of the European Command staff, Air Forces Europe and our component commands."

The injured man was taken to the Shannon International Airport and then transported to the hospital where he is reported to be in stable condition.

"There is no doubt about the resolve of any person involved in this time-critical operation, and all can take pride in the outcome of this complex display of communications, planning, and airmanship."