Fort Irwin-based medevac crew rescue downed naval aviator

A medevac crew from C Company, 2916th Aviation Battalion “Desert DUSTOFF” rescued a naval aviator shortly after the pilot’s F/A-18F Super Hornet crashed in Death Valley National Park, Calif., on Oct. 4, 2021.

“We received initial notification of the crash at approximately 1514 on October 4,” said Maj. Michael Chase, commander of C CO, 2916th Aviation Battalion. “Upon receiving the required information, it took our crew less than 8 minutes to get the bird wheels up.”

The flight crew for the rescue operation consisted of a pilot, co-pilot, crew chief, flight paramedic, as well as a Fort Irwin Firefighter Paramedic.

Upon reaching the crash site at Death Valley National Park, the paramedics rendered care to the Aviator for possible fractures and lacerations. The wounded patient was in stable condition on the scene and was then transported for treatment at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas.

“Our primary mission is to provide support to Fort Irwin and the National Training Center with immediate response air medevac support,” said Pilot in Command CW2 Adam Murphy, who was overall responsible for the rescue operation. “On occasion, and based on need and urgency, we support missions off post to save life, limb, or eyesight. This incident met that criteria, and due to the remoteness of the incident, we were the closest medical response to the scene.”

“Desert DUSTOFF provides premier air medevac support 24/7/365. I could not be more proud of the dedication and unhesitating service the DUSTOFF crew exhibited in their actions to recover and evacuate the downed aviator,” said Chase. “This was truly a joint effort with our sister services and government partners to respond quickly to the scene and provide the necessary care for the downed aviator.”

According to Naval Forces Public Affairs, the Aviator was released from the hospital later that night. Search and rescue units from Fort Irwin as well as NAWS China Lake, Calif., and Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron (MAWTS) 1 from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., responded to the scene to rescue the pilot.

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