News: Corpsmen conduct search-and-rescue winch training as a part of Southern Frontier 2012
Story by Cpl. Vanessa Jimenez
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIRFORCE BASE TINDAL, Australia — Navy corpsmen here in support of Exercise Southern Frontier 2012, were given the opportunity to conduct winch training with Search-and-Rescue (SAR) members July 17 – 18, 2012.
Exercise Southern Frontier 2012 is an annual, unilateral training exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force allowing Marine Aircraft Group 12 F/A-18 Hornet squadrons, like Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232, the opportunity to focus on offensive-air support training to improve squadron readiness.
SAR here is a RAAF asset, contracted to the Air Force from CHC Helicopters. SAR members provide search and rescue for ejection seat aircraft.
The training gave Corpsmen an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter and some of the equipment.
“We conducted the training we do with medics when it’s their first time flying with us called a basic medical winch sortie,” said Joshua Elloy, search-and-rescue air crewman. “We just take them out to a big, open area and go through the process of being hooked up to a winch and being winched out of the aircraft and down to the open area. It is comprised of helicopter safety and familiarization of our specific aircraft.”
Sailors went through a groundbreaking training class, which covered procedures and safety of the aircraft before winching, later in the afternoon and the next day.
The training was conducted in an open area near the hangar. The helicopter hovered approximately 15 feet above the ground, and corpsmen were hooked up to a hoist and winched down to the ground.
“They’ll start off going out with a rescue crewman on a double winch,” said Stuart Dawes, S-76 Tindal search-and-rescue pilot captain. “If they do well on the double, they’ll go out on a single hoist alone.”
A safety supervisor is located on the ground throughout the training. He makes sure trainees land safely, take the hoist strap off and clear the area.
Winching becomes more advanced with the use of gear and location.
“As you progress in training, we’ll incorporate stretchers and medical gear,” said Elloy. “We’ll also go to places outside the airfield with less room, more trees or cliff faces.”
In case of an emergency, this training can help medical personnel work efficiently when flying with SAR members.
“It helps give medical staff an awareness if they need to fly with us in a real emergency,” said Dawes. “When you get a real job, things happen at a quicker pace and they really need to know what’s coming up and what’s expected of them as far as moving in the aircraft, what we do and how we do things.”
Members involved in the training walked away with a better understanding of SAR and a good experience.
“It was fantastic being able to be on the aircraft and learn a little more about SAR procedures,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Darin Buckley, a Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 corpsman. “This is something we’d probably have to do if there is a downed aircraft or fire, so having this knowledge is great.”
This work, Corpsmen conduct search-and-rescue winch training as a part of Southern Frontier 2012, by Sgt Vanessa Jimenez, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.