Submitted by Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.
A Search and Rescue team from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island conducted a medical evacuation from Orcas Island in the afternoon of Tuesday, Jan. 5.
The SAR team was called at about 2:30 p.m. when other assets were unavailable due to high winds in the area. By 3 p.m. the SAR crew landed at Orcas Island Airport where they picked up the patient, a 74-year-old male. The patient was then flown to St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Wash.
This is the first mission supporting the local populace that Naval Air Station Whidbey Island SAR has conducted this calendar year.
The Navy SAR unit operates three MH-60S helicopters from NAS Whidbey Island as search and rescue/medical evacuation platforms for the EA-18G aircraft as well as other squadrons and personnel assigned to the installation.
Pursuant to the National SAR Plan of the United States, the unit may also be used for civil SAR/MEDEVAC needs to the fullest extent practicable on a non-interference basis with primary military duties according to applicable national directives, plans, guidelines and agreements; specifically, the unit may launch in response to tasking by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (based on a Washington State Memorandum of Understanding) for inland missions, and/or tasking by the United States Coast Guard for all other aeronautical and maritime regions, when other assets are unavailable.