KUWAIT (NNS) -- The 2515th Naval Air Ambulance Detachment has been deployed to Iraq for five months and has already completed 65 aero medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) missions in support of the Army and Marine Corps in the region.
The Navy established and deployed its first Air Ambulance Company, to serve as the primary platform for coalition forces in Kuwait and lower Iraq, in November.
The 2515th was formed and trained specifically to meet the demands of the air ambulance mission, a mission normally conducted by the Army and Marine Corps.
"The very nature of this achievement speaks of both the ability of a nonstandard unit...[to provide this support] as well as the rapidly developing inter-service relationship between the Army and the Navy," said Lt. Cliff J. Uddenberg.
The 2515th consists of three MH-60S Knighthawks from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 in Guam, three HH-60H Seahawks from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 15 in Jacksonville, Fla., and more than 112 personnel from the two squadrons. The unit also received eight highly trained corpsmen gathered from various commands across the United States.
Though each squadron underwent similar training in preparation for the deployment, they also brought differing and equally important skill sets to the table.
The "Red Lions" of HS-15 operate the H-60H/F, and normally execute the combat search and rescue (CSAR) and plane guard missions aboard aircraft carriers.
The HSC-25 "Island Knights" typically deploy in two aircraft detachments aboard USNS supply ships and provide vertical replenishment (VERTREP) of supplies to naval ships at sea, as well as search and rescue (SAR) and plane guard duties for expeditionary strike groups.
Regardless of background, both squadrons became intimately familiar with both the tactical and non-tactical aspects of MEDEVAC.
This is the first time in either Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom that naval assets have been tapped for this mission. All of the 2515th personnel feel honored to be the Navy's only MEDEVAC asset to assist in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Though understandably proud of their accomplishments, squadron personnel still maintain an adamant respect for their Army brethren.
"It is truly an honor to know that our presence here in Kuwait might help reduce the strain of those deployed units," said 2515th's Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Todd J. Flannery, "and we look forward to continued support in the future."
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