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Military Sealift Command.

USNS Spica Rescues

British Submarine Sailor

By Ensign Marcie Robinson, USNS Spica

On October 2, MSC combat stores ship USNS Spica unexpectedly received orders from US Naval Forces Central Command to divert immediately from its intended course and make best speed to a destination in the southern Red Sea. Instead of transporting stores, Spica assisted in the at-sea medical evacuation of a British sailor suffering from acute appendicitis on board his submarine.

As Spica neared the rendezvous point, crew members prepared to launch one of the ship's Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) and simultaneously prepared to receive an inbound SH-60 Seahawk helicopter from USS Nicholas.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Upon reaching the surfaced submarine, Spica launched the RHIB with a trained search and rescue swimmer. Eleven minutes later, the RHIB was recovered and the British sonar operator repairman was taken for an examination by the ship's medical services officer, Don Stedry. Spica's flight deck crew refueled the Seahawk helicopter and transferred the patient in less than 30 minutes. The submariner was then flown to USS Saipan, where he underwent a successful appendectomy.

"I'm proud that Spica's civilian mariner and military team was able to assist this submariner. Life at sea is an adventure, but you always hope that something like this won't happen to a fellow sailor. I'm happy we could play a role in getting him the medical care he needed," said Navy Cmdr. Rod Hubbard, Spica's military detachment officer-in-charge.

*Some articles have been condensed due to limitations in space.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:GOVERNMENT NEWS*; united states, Naval Forces Central Command
Author:Robinson, Ensign Marcie
Publication:Defense Transportation Journal
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Words:249
Previous Article:Washington, DC Chapter.
Next Article:SDDC.
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