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thedrifter
03-10-03, 10:49 AM
Search ends for Sailor lost at sea

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) – The search has ended for a Sailor lost at sea off of Norfolk, Va., based guided- missile cruiser USS Monterey.

Seaman Apprentice Christian Nicolas Earlie, from Corona, N.Y., apparently jumped overboard around 5 p.m. Feb. 24, according to eyewitnesses. The ship was conducting routine training exercises off Florida’s eastern shore.

Search-and-rescue (SAR) missions were conducted after, utilizing the ship’s small boats with three SAR swimmers, a Coast Guard C-130 Hercules and a HH-60 Seahawk helicopter.

BAGRAM, Afghanistan – Earlier this month, a California National Guard soldier flew an HH-60L helicopter right off a stateside factory’s lot on the first leg of its journey to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.

The two-month-old helicopter, one of just two HH-60Ls now in Afghanistan, is the latest edition to the line of Blackhawks and is designed specifically for medical evacuation. There are only 12 other helicopters like it.

Sgt. 1st Class Gary Volkman of the California National Guard’s 126th Medical Company (Air Ambulance), now deployed to Afghanistan, flew with the HH- 60L from the factory.

He said his unit is lucky to have two of these rare Blackhawks. One was only built in November and the other in January.

“These are the first two to be deployed,” said Volkman, who is the acting first sergeant of a 24- hour standby all-paramedic team of 20.

Due to the many paramedic- friendly features the distinguished bubble-nosed helicopter possesses, it was decided Bagram would be its first deployment location. While the previous model of the Blackhawk the 126th was using, the UH-60L, allowed crewmembers to carry all the needed equipment onboard, the HH-60L has many features that make it easier for the paramedics, Volkman said.

The stationary medical interior includes an onboard oxygen-generating system, provisions for medical electronics, a six-litter patient configuration, room for a medic plus another essential individual.

Other features include the latest infrared and navigational capabilities, a storm scope and a 290-foot hoist, which travels 350 feet a minute for quick reaction time. The hoist may be needed for various rescues, Volkman explained. “We can lower a medic down into a mine field to pick up an injured person and it is a lot faster than the old internal hoist.”

These new helicopters are not cheap.

“They are roughly 14 million dollars a piece,” said Volkman.

While only being in Afghanistan a couple of weeks, the medevac helicopter has already seen a few rescues dealing with land-mine accidents and a couple incidents of kids playing with explosive ordnance.


Sempers,

Roger