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California Air Guard Rescues Man at Sea on Cruise Ship

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Serena Smith,
  • 129th Rescue Wing

MOFFETT AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Calif. - The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center activated the California Air National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing to airlift a man on a cruise ship to a hospital May 7.

The 64-year-old man suffered a heart attack aboard the Bahamian-based Ovation of the Seas cruise liner 800 nautical miles from the coast of San Francisco, prompting medical personnel on board to determine the need for higher medical care.

“The 129th Rescue Wing is always ready to execute our full spectrum of capabilities. Over 1,161 times we have answered the call. At home and abroad, in combat and in peace, our highly trained and motivated Airmen have pushed the limits to bring someone home alive when we were their last hope,” said Col. Victor L. Teal Jr., 129th Rescue Wing commander. “Our Airmen have dedicated their lives to service of state and country, and I couldn’t be prouder of the team, their accomplishments, and the things we do ‘that others may live.’”

The wing partnered with U.S. Coast Guard District 11 to launch one U.S. Air Force HC-130J Combat King II aircraft and one HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter, assigned to the wing, from Moffett Air National Guard Base in Mountain View, the morning of May 7.

The team met with the ship some 400 nautical miles from the San Francisco coast. Guardian Angel pararescuemen hoisted the man to the helicopter to provide medical care and transfer him to Regional Medical Center in San Jose, refueling in the air four times.

The man’s daughter, Veronica Goode, said he is in stable condition and recovering.

“He is an Army combat vet himself and I know he would want to thank you,” she said. “He would have been on cloud nine during the helicopter ride if he hadn’t been sedated. He loves to fly.”

“Everything went extremely well,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Kenley Lok, the mission’s search and rescue duty officer. “Everybody’s efforts made this a success. It’s not one person or one shop; it’s everyone coming together as a whole.”

The rescue marks the wing’s 1,161st life saved.

The wing trains, prepares and conducts combat search and rescue operations over land or water. The wing leverages these skills at home by supporting the California governor’s office during state emergencies, including search and rescue and aerial firefighting.