MV-22 Ospreys Conduct First-Ever Medical Evacuation
By 22nd MEU Public Affairs
Photo by Seaman Kelvin Edwards, Navy Visual News Service
22nd MEU Photo
The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit made history by using two MV-22B Ospreys, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 263, to conduct a ship-to-shore emergency medical evacuation of a Sailor from USS Bataan in June 2009. It was the first time the aircraft had been used to conduct such a mission from the sea.
At approximately 4:30 p.m., June 25, two Ospreys were returning to Bataan after a routine mission when the pilots were notified of an emergency situation. The aircraft were ordered to return to the ship at maximum speed.
After landing aboard Bataan, the patient and team of medical personnel were brought aboard the aircraft and lifted off at 4:50 p.m. from Bataan’s flight deck.
The aircraft travelled 147 nautical miles in 37 minutes to a regional airport where an ambulance was used to transfer the Sailor to a hospital for further treatment.
The Sailor sustained head and hip injuries as well as chest pains after falling. The Sailor is in stable condition in the U.S. Central Command area awaiting further transfer.
“Everybody from the ship made this very easy for us,” said Maj. Brett A. Hart, assistant operations officer for VMM 263 and one of the pilots on the mission. “It was an all-hands effort and everybody gave their utmost to ensure the safety of this Sailor.”
Hart, who has had experience in conducting MEDEVACS in other aircraft like the CH-46E SeaKnight, said the biggest difference with using the Osprey was the rapid speed with which the mission was executed.
“By virtue of having this aircraft, we were able to do it much faster and farther,” he said. “This is a fine example of why we have an aircraft like this.”
The 22nd MEU deployed, May 15, aboard ships from the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and was deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. (July 2009)