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Face of Defense: Sailors Provide Medical Aid for Tourist

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Veloicaza U.S. Third Fleet

HONOLULU, July 22, 2016 — Two sailors with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 15 provided emergency care to a Japanese tourist in medical distress on the Diamond Head Trail here, 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.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Lessley and Petty Officer 2nd Class Hunter Price treated the woman for heat exhaustion and attempted to escort her down the trail. However, the tourist became weak and disoriented, so the sailors contacted local authorities.

Both sailors are experienced Navy rescue swimmers with extensive backgrounds in emergency response training. Lessley is a former emergency medical technician.

Civilian firefighters hiked up the trail to assist, and after assessing the woman’s condition they called for an emergency medical evacuation helicopter. While the sailors were waiting for the helicopter to arrive, they downloaded a language translator application on a smartphone to establish basic communication with the tourist.

Making a Difference

“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”, Price said. “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 off physical training for 15 members of his search-and-rescue team 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,” Lessley said.

HSC-15, homeported at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, is an active augmented squadron participating in the Rim of the Pacific 2016 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.

Distribution channels: Military