NORFOLK (NNS) -- The "Tiger Tails" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 125 assisted with the rescue of three distressed civilian mariners off the coast of North Carolina, March 11.
An E-2D Hawkeye, assigned to VAW-125, received a distress call while participating in a local training exercise. The call for assistance was relayed to the U.S. Coast Guard North Carolina sector, who asked the Hawkeye crew to serve as the "eyes in the sky" in locating the survivors.
"Preparing for search and rescue assignments is part of our training," said LCDR Christopher LeBlanc, mission commander during the flight. "Fortunately we were in the area and able to help."
The Hawkeye crew pinpointed the location of the downed boat and passed the information to a nearby good Samaritan merchant vessel that brought the distressed boaters aboard. From there, a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter carried the mariners to safety.
"This rescue was a team effort," said Lt. Cmdr. Mike McNabb, an air control officer aboard the Hawkeye. "I've conducted several missions where I felt I really made a difference - this is one."
VAW-125 operates the E-2D Hawkeye, an aircraft designed for all-weather, carrier-based tactical battle management and airborne early warning. The Hawkeye acts as a communication link to provide the big picture of what's happening in the air and on the ground.
"Any E-2D could have done this," said LeBlanc. "All of our E-2D squadrons on the waterfront are well trained, well equipped and capable of this level of response."
Home ported at Naval Station Norfolk, VAW-125 is one of six VAW squadrons based in Norfolk, Va. VAW-125 provides airborne early warning and command and control to Carrier Air Wing 1 and is assigned aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).
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