Vinson Strike Group Responds to Distress Call

Story Number: NNS050620-05Release Date: 6/20/2005 11:12:00 AM
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From USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

USS CARL VINSON (NNS) -- While conducting maritime security operations in the Persian Gulf June 11, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) received a distress call over bridge-to-bridge radio from the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow Henif at approximately 8:20 a.m. requesting medical assistance for a crew member.

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89), part of the Carl Vinson strike group, was dispatched immediately to render assistance.

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class (SW) Michael Campion, the medic on the rescue team, conducted a complete evaluation of the fisherman's medical condition. He then consulted with Mustin's senior medical officer, Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW) Laurence Preston, via radio and determined that the patient required more extensive care that could be provided by the medical department on Carl Vinson.

Mustin used its rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) to transport the Iranian crew member to Mustin, where he was further transported via an SH-60 helicopter to Vinson. Once aboard Carl Vinson, the fisherman was taken to Carl Vinson's medical facilities, where he underwent a battery of tests.

"He was suffering from abominable pain from a possible allergic reaction," said Carl Vinson's Senior Medical Officer Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Hohman. "His white blood cell count was in excess of 22,000 - 10,000 being normal. He was horribly dehydrated and had a temperature of 102."

After a short period of recovery, the crew member was returned to the Henif via one of the carrier's RHIBs.

Mustin's rescue and assistance team was pleased to have been of service to the stricken fisherman.

"It's not very often that I am presented with a chance to take advantage of my training and...put it to use," said Campion. "This sort of thing is my whole reason for joining the Navy as a corpsman."

The crew of the Henif was also very appreciative of Mustin's assistance.

"They were glad we were in the area and willing to help," said Lt. j.g. Justin Burney, the officer-in-charge of the rescue team. "They said our presence in the Gulf was also a good thing, as it maintained the security of the waterways."

The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group is currently deployed to the Persian Gulf conducting operations in support of multinational forces in Iraq and maritime security operations in the Gulf in order to set the conditions for security and stability in the region.

The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group includes commander, Carrier Strike Group 3, Carrier Air Wing 9, Destroyer Squadron 31, the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), the guided-missile destroyers USS O'Kane (DDG 77) and Mustin, and the fast combat support ship USS Camden (AOE 2).

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