Guided-Missile Frigate USS John L. Hall Assists Disabled Vessel


While underway in support of the 2011 Gulf of Mexico (GOMEX) Quick Draw exercise, guided-missile frigate USS John L. Hall (FFG 32) responded to a mayday issued by a U.S. flagged vessel, June 16.

At approximately 9:30 pm, John L. Hall’s embarked SH-60B Light Airborne Multipurpose System (LAMPS) helicopter from Anti-Submarine Helicopter Squadron Light (HSL) 48 det. 2 received a distress call from the motor vessel (M/V) Mr. Lucky.

As the helicopter positioned itself to investigate, the pilot and crew observed a red flare being fired from the vessel, and relayed this information back to the ship. John L. Hall reported the location of M/V Mr. Lucky and established bridge-to-bridge communications and then visually spotted the vessel. M/V Mr. Lucky was adrift in the water, having suffered casualties to both the steering system and one of the two engines. While the SH-60B hovered overhead, the crew of John L. Hall got to work.

After quickly developing a plan to render assistance, John L. Hall launched their rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) with four members of the embarked U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement det. (LEDET) 406 from Tactical Law Enforcement Team (TACLET) South and four engineers, intent on helping those aboard M/V Mr. Lucky repair their boat. Arriving on scene in rough seas and high winds, the team assessed the situation and attempted to fix the steering and engine for more than four hours.

It was determined that the right equipment and materials to repair the ship was not available, the John L. Hall was able to coordinate with ARM Oaxaca (PO-161) of the Mexican navy for a tow ship to be sent out from Cozumel, Mexico, less than 50 miles away. Before being relieved on station by Oaxaca, Sailors from John L. Hall transferred food and water to M/V Mr. Lucky, who had less than a day’s worth of each remaining.

“You don’t get too many opportunities to assist a vessel in distress,” said Lt. Scott Thompson, John L. Hall Chief Engineer. “It makes the entire ship feel great to help another mariner like that! Everyone does their part because they understand the dangers of the sea and just how bad things can get very quickly.”

Source: navy, June 27, 2011;