USNS Mercy evacuates sailor from South Korean submarine

U.S. Navy’s hospital ship USNS Mercy performed a medical evacuation to help a ROK Navy sailor in need of medical attention.

The U.S. Navy ship on May 26 received orders from Commander Task Force (CTF) 73 to render medical assistance to a Republic of Korea Navy (ROK-N) submarine in the mid-pacific.

Mercy was approximately 18 hours away and altered track to meet the SSK Lee Eok Gi (SS 071) submarine.

The Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 which is embarked on the ship launched an MH-60S helicopter from Mercy early May 27 to recover the sailor with a team of rescue crewmen.

Mercy is equipped to provide mobile acute medical and surgical services to deployed forces ashore and at sea, and is currently underway in support of Pacific Partnership 2016.

“It was fortuitous (that Mercy was in the vicinity) because we have highly qualified surgeons and medical teams aboard the ship,” said Lt. Cmdr. Pete Bradford, department head for the main operating room, medical treatment facility USNS Mercy.

Mercy will visit Timor Leste, The Republic of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia during Pacific Partnership 2016, conducting multinational disaster response preparedness drills, and tailored medical and engineering civic action programs, to strengthen interoperability and partner nations’ ability to collectively respond in a natural disaster or crisis.