HONOLULU — Sailors assigned to the "Red Lions" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 15 provided emergency care to a Japanese tourist in medical distress on the Diamond Head Trail in Honolulu, July 12.
Several members of the HSC-15 aircrew division were hiking Diamond Head early in the morning and were beginning their descent down the trail when they came across a 52-year-old female tourist who required assistance.
Chief Naval Air Crewman Jason Lessley and Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Hunter Price were first responders to the situation. Both are experienced Navy rescue swimmers with a background of extensive emergency response training, and Lessley is a former emergency medical technician. They treated the woman for heat exhaustion and attempted to escort her down the trail. The tourist became weak and disoriented, so the Sailors contacted local authorities.
Local firefighters hiked up the trail, and after assessing the woman's condition called for an emergency medical evacuation helicopter to airlift the patient. Both Sailors waited for more than 30 minutes before a helicopter arrived. While they were waiting, they downloaded a language translator application on a smartphone to establish basic communication with the tourist.
"I'm glad to know we can make a difference, not only to the people we serve next to, but also to someone we have never met," said Price. "When we are required to perform our job, it's usually because something bad has happened. It's in that moment that the training you think you'll never use comes into action like it is second nature."
Lessley said what started as a day of physical training for 15 of his search and rescue air crewmen ended with a real-life practical application of their emergency medical training.
"My Sailors train hard every day, and today that training paid off; Price performed flawlessly," said Lessley.
HSC-15, homeported at Naval Air Station North Island, California, is an active augmented squadron participating in the 2016 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.
Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.