MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Marines with Marine Transport Squadron 1 supported a casualty evacuation drill outside of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina in conjunction with Coast Guard central security forces July 30.
VMR-1 assisted Coast Guard Station Hobucken, North Carolina, to simulate recovering an individual from the water. VMR-1 provided an HH-46E Sea Knight helicopter and a rescue swimmer, allowing both the squadron and the Coast Guard an opportunity to hone their search and rescue skills, said Capt. Hung Nguyen, a search and rescue pilot with VMR-1.
“It’s good exposure for the VMR-1 Marines because typically they don’t see the operating forces and what they do because we strictly conduct search and rescue operations,” said Nguyen.
VMR-1’s primary mission is to provide search and rescue support to Cherry Point based aircraft. However, the squadron also provides support to organizations outside of the air station, including the Coast Guard, according to Nguyen.
“It’s better to get this training now with people we’ve never worked with before because it takes a lot of coordination to get this type of thing done,” said Nguyen. “That way we can work out the kinks now, build a rapport and make sure we are ready to go when an actual operation comes around.”
The training is necessary in order to ensure that the Marines of VMR-1 are ready to respond to a rescue at a moment’s notice, according to Sgt. Zachary Wood, a rescue swimmer with VMR-1.
“We conduct rescues all the time and we never know when or where we are going to do them,” said Wood. “This type of training directly applies to us because if it’s over a river, in a forest or on land, we’ll be there.”
During search and rescue operations, it is imperative that every Marine is on the same page and provides input on the situation, said Wood.
“We brief everything we know to each other because communication is key,” said Wood. “Everyone knows everyone’s job and mission during these exercises. If something happens, we are all ready to react.”