HomeNewsArticle Display

Andersen AFB KC-135 crew locates missing mariners on lone Pacific island

Guardsmen from the 203rd Air Refueling Squadron, Hawaii Air National Guard, and the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pennsylvania ANG, located three missing mariners on Pikelot Island during a search and rescue mission in the Federated States of Micronesia southwest of Guam, Aug. 2, 2020. On July 29, three mariners aboard a 23-foot white and blue skiff departed Puluwat Atoll intending to travel approximately 21 nautical miles to Pulap, Chuuk, but didn’t make it to their destination. (Courtesy video)

-

Guardsmen from the 203rd Air Refueling Squadron, Hawaii Air National Guard, and the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pennsylvania ANG, located three missing mariners on Pikelot Island during a search and rescue mission in the Federated States of Micronesia southwest of Guam, Aug. 2, 2020. On July 29, three mariners aboard a 23-foot white and blue skiff departed Puluwat Atoll intending to travel approximately 21 nautical miles to Pulap, Chuuk, but didn’t make it to their destination. (Courtesy photo)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNS) -- Guardsmen from the 203rd Air Refueling Squadron, Hawaii Air National Guard and the 171st Air Refueling Wing, Pennsylvania ANG deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, were the first to locate three missing mariners during a search and rescue mission in the Federated States of Micronesia southwest of Guam, Aug. 2.

On July 29, three mariners aboard a 23-foot white and blue skiff departed Puluwat Atoll intending to travel approximately 21 nautical miles to Pulap, Chuuk. However, they never made it to their destination and were reported missing.

“Joint Rescue Sub-Center Guam received notification of an overdue skiff last seen in the vicinity of Chuuk and requested our assistance,” said Maj. Shaun McRoberts, 506th Air Expeditionary Aerial Refueling Squadron assistant director of operations. “Once notified, we began immediately working a plan to launch crews to locate the missing vessel.”

Lt. Col. Jason Palmeira-Yen, Maj. Byron Kamikawa and Tech. Sgt. Shane Williams, Hawaii Air National Guardsmen, along with Tech. Sgt. Rodney Joseph and Senior Airman Jeremy Williams, Pennsylvania Air National Guardsmen, took off from Andersen AFB in their KC-135 Stratotanker destined to locate the missing vessel.

After almost three hours into their mission, and flying at about 1,500 feet, the crew located the mariners on the tiny island of Pikelot, Yap.

“We were toward the end of our search pattern,” said Lt. Col. Jason Palmeira-Yen, the KC-135 pilot. “We turned to avoid some rain showers and that’s when we looked down and saw an island, so we decided to check it out and that’s when we saw SOS and a boat right next to it on the beach. From there we called in the Australian Navy because they had two helicopters nearby that could assist and land on the island.”

The Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Canberra (L02) was also in the region and agreed to divert and provide search sorties with embarked helicopters while the FSS Independence departed from Yap to assist.

A helicopter crew from HMAS Canberra delivered supplies to the stranded mariners while a U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules from Air Station Barbers Point, Hawaii, airdropped a radio and message block informing them the FSS Independence was en-route to rescue and return them home.

"Partnerships" said U.S Coast Guard Capt. Christopher Chase, Coast Guard Sector Guam, commander. "This is what made this search and rescue case successful. Through coordination with multiple response organizations, we were able to save three members of our community and bring them back home to their families.”

At 12 a.m., August 3, the Independence arrived on scene, launched a small boat crew and rescued the mariners.

Engage

Twitter
Give @GenCQBrownJr a follow for the latest on how he's leading the charge to accelerate change throughout the… https://t.co/LtDGcVwsKi
Twitter
Honoring a pioneer. Join us in celebrating the life and legacy of Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager live, noon EST. Live c… https://t.co/0aFqKjSWyO
Twitter
RT @CalGuard: Airmen from the Cal Guard's 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno are stepping up to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. #TheVirusStops
Twitter
Pilot Training Next For the 1st time in @AFSpecOpsCmd history, two new graduates from @AETCommand's Pilot Training… https://t.co/TPOIM1KDEl
Twitter
Celebrating service. @GenCQBrownJr and @SpaceForceCSO thanked @SecAFOfficial Barbara Barrett for her service duri… https://t.co/0uo2BGRrq9
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: The remarkable consistency, the universality, in the @USAirForce & @SpaceForceDoD is the goodness of our people. Every d…
Twitter
Providing strategic depth The @USAFReserve’s T-56-15A engine Centralized Repair Facility, supported by the 913th A… https://t.co/wGHrc7Zdid
Twitter
RT @USAfricaCommand: First members of AFRICOM vaccinated against #COVID19 "It doesn’t mean we can let up, doesn’t mean we can’t keep follo…
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Our AFMC essential Airmen continue to receive the first round of #COVID19 vaccines, with the latest at @HAFB and @RobinsAFB_GA
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you to all @USAirForce #Airmen & @SpaceForceDoD #Guardians for safeguarding our Nation and the principles that def…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Life has a way of throwing us curveballs. How we deal with those moments is part of who we are. How we help others deal…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Received a COVID-19 vaccination yesterday alongside @USECAF_Manasco, @GenCQBrownJr, and @cmsaf_official. As the vaccine…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: The Nation’s Reserve Citizen Airmen didn’t let 2020 deter them. Check out how the 419th Fighter Wing continued its legacy…
Twitter
Give @GenCQBrownJr a follow for the latest on how he's leading the charge to accelerate change throughout the… https://t.co/KMqiaTbZNe
Twitter
The future is now. Air Force leadership participated in a virtual B-21 Industry Day event to increase industry awa… https://t.co/arNkumnouq
Twitter
RT @USAfricaCommand: Since the onset of #COVID19, a whole-of-government approach has enabled multiple #HumanitarianAssistance donations to…
Twitter
RT @HQUSAFEAFAF: #DYK the air terminal ops center (ATOC) at Nigerien Air Base 201 is responsible for air transportation ops including cargo…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,311,664
Follow Us