USS Gunston Hall Engages in SAREX Off Cyprus
The amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) participated in a bilateral Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) off the coast of Cyprus with search and rescue units from the Republic of Cyprus, Oct. 7.
The SAREX focused on daylight search and rescue (SAR) operations, deck-landings with SAR helicopters, and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) drills from Gunston Hall’s flight deck.
The exercise began with the Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC Larnaca) receiving a simulated distress call from Gunston Hall requesting MEDEVAC for two injured Sailors. AW-139 rescue helicopters assigned to Cyprus’ 460 SAR Squadron and the Cyprus Police Aviation Unit were dispatched in response.
The SAREX aims at improving personnel and rescue units’ capabilities and readiness while responding to potential SAR missions and other humanitarian operations within the Republic of Cyprus region and throughout the Eastern Mediterranean.
The SAREX marks the third exercise completed with the Republic of Cyprus this year. Each SAREX had a unique scenario and was completed successfully.
Gunston Hall, part of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group with the embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe.
Press Release, October 09, 2014; Image: US Navy