845 NAS host US Airforce rescue squadron
845 Naval Air Squadron at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton hosted helicopters and 30 personnel from the 56th Rescue Squadron (RQS) of the United States Airforce, who brought with them two HH-60 Pavehawk’s, the Search and Rescue version of the H-60 Blackhawk.
The Jungly’s are old friends of the Pavehawk’s and 56 RQS having recently served together during Operation Ellamy onboard HMS Ocean off the Libyan coast, where they conducted personnel recovery operations in support of the Coalition forces. The Pavehawk is designed to carry out day or night operations into hostile environments and recover downed aircrew or other isolated personnel back to friendly lines. (Combat Search and Rescue, CSAR.) Because of its versatility, they can be tasked to also take part in civil search and rescue, emergency medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), or disaster relief.
The two Pavehawk helicopters operated out of Yeovilton for a week, where they familiarising themselves with the deck of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Argus in the English Channel. 56 RQS, who are based out of RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, as part of the United States Airforce in Europe, are also known to the Commando Helicopter Force crews out in Afghanistan where they operate under the ‘Pedro’ call-sign, playing a valuable role in lifting wounded soldiers of all nationalities to the nearest hospital facilities.
During their visit the chance to have a closer look at each other kit and equipment and discuss recent deployments was high on the agenda. Building on their HMS Ocean experience, the US aircrews were keen to learn more of what the Commando Sea King Squadron’s do. “Not only am I in awe of the aircraft, I also think their work extracting casualties from the Green Zone in Afghanistan must be one of the most rewarding pilot jobs around.”. Said Sub Lieutenant Fred Durrant, who hosted the USAF crews.
“We were able to accomplish a great deal of training while at Yeovilton we managed over 80 deck landings on RFA Argus and this was due in large part to the support from 845 Naval Air Squadron and the Commando Helicopter Force”, said Lieutenant Colonel Jon Cary 56 RQS Operations Officer.
845 NAS were delighted to have been able to assist the USAF with their training and build on strong ties that exist between British and US forces. The Squadrons will be working together again during Exercise Joint Warrior later in the Spring.