On Wednesday, June 24 as a five-person crew aboard VAW-124’s E-2C Hawkeye were manning the skies above Hampton Roads they heard a potential Search and Rescue (SAR) distress call announced on the Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and took action.
“We received a report of a vessel taking on water near Smith Island off the Virginia Peninsula, and Lt. Burke and crew responded to our Urgent Marine Information Broadcast, in addition to CG HH-60, small boat, and local partner boats,” said Capt. Samson C. Stevens, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Sector Virginia
“Burke’s crew identified a capsized vessel with two persons in the water, helping us to quickly vector assets to the scene and confirm the nature of distress,” said Stevens. “The VAW platform made a big difference in prioritizing our responses.”
One of the naval aviators who had lead on locating the stranded vessel was VAW-124’s Lt. Casey Burke.
“It was nice to be able to utilize my training in order to assist the Coast Guard with their Search and Rescue response,” said Burke.
Other aviators that assisted with this Search and Rescue event included Lt. Simon Hallberg, Lt. Steve Dine, from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Lt. Jackson Jones, and Lt. Eric Triassi.
Cmdr. Jonathan Faraco, VAW-124 executive officer emphasized the value of manning, training, and equipping our forces.
“In ninety-nine out of one hundred flights, a Hawkeye crew will not participate in a search and rescue. We train to and brief our search and rescue procedures in the event that our aircrew come across a ship or an aircraft in distress,” said Faraco, “This event is evidence that our training is working, our aircrew were ready, and they knew how to respond quickly to an emergent request for assistance from a fellow mariner at sea.”
Faraco added that the Hawkeye’s long-range sensors, robust communications suite, and extensive on station time makes the E-2C an ideal airborne asset to assist the U.S. Coast Guard in these types of Search and Rescue events.
“We have a lot of respect for our brothers and sisters in the U.S. Coast Guard, and are proud to partner with them to help a fellow mariner in distress,” said Faraco.
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