Marine Corps Air Statioin Cherry Point --
As hurricane season approaches, the risk of emergency situations increases.
Marine Transport Squadron 1 trains continuously for all types of emergencies, and with the added risk of natural disasters the Marines of VMR-1 are focusing more on flood rescue and evacuation training like the one conducted June 9, two miles south of Marine Corps Air Station New River.
“What we did was simulated a flood evacuation situation,” said Sgt. Brandon King, rescue swimmer with VMR-1. “This training is done to give the rescue swimmer some time in the water while also helping the pilots and their crew chiefs achieve as close to perfect communication as possible.”
During the exercise, the rescue swimmer is lowered into the water away from the victim to prevent water blown by the rotor blades from rushing up over them. This also keeps the rescue swimmer safe from a panicking victim.
The Marine will swim to the victim and hook them to the rescue cable. The rescue swimmer then gives a hand signal to the crew chief and both are hoisted out of the water and flown to a designated landing zone where local emergency personnel are waiting.
“For this training we worked with the Onslow County Emergency Services Center,” said King. “Today’s training went really well. Our communications on board our aircraft were perfect and we had great, fast-action launches.”
Each year, hurricane season starts June 1 and continues through November. With the possibility of bad weather, VMR-1 plans to maintain this type of training to stay mission-ready.
“This training helps us prepare for natural disasters,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan E. Honnoll, search and rescue medical technician with VMR-1. “ Our mission as a search and rescue unit is to provide help not only to Cherry Point, but to the civilians of our surrounding communities, and this training helps us better complete our mission.”