"A stitch in time saves nine" is an age-old adage but it was brought up-to-date when VP-6 recently held air-sea rescue training exercises off Nanakuli beach. The nine men "saved" were LTjg. W. J. Brink, LTjg. D. G. Anderson, Ens. Dale Ellena, Ens. D. G. Page, J. Masters, AL2; F. M. Matthews, AD1; F. A. Jackson, AL2; G. D. Romine, AO1; and B. W. Mitchell, AN.
These men were taken to a point about two miles off Nanakuli beach by a 63' crash boat from which the operations were observed. Then as if the word "abandon ship" had been passed, the men threw over a Mark VII and Mark IV life raft.
OARS WERE assembled and the two rafts lashed together to prevent their drifting apart. Rowing vigorously to cut through the choppy waters, the "survivors" were soon out on their own. Within seconds, their drift and position could be spotted by the green trail left by packets of dye dropped at intervals. A flare giving off a powdery red smoke signal was soon sent up. Then, radar screens were set up so that their position could be pin-pointed by rescuing craft.
I wasn't long until Lt. William Freudenberg brought his P2V in sight and circled the life rafts, dipping his wings in recognition. Coming in again, the pilot dropped smoke-bomb markers, one on each side. His third trip around, Lt. Freudenberg dropped four rafts and additional life-saving equipment. All that remained to complete the operation was picking up the men. This vital part of the rescue is the job of the Sea-Drome Boat Detail which is under the supervision of LCDR A. Cutet, assistant NAS Operations Officer.
"WE WEREN'T too familiar with the equipment," stated LTjg Brink, after the operations were concluded. "It was the first time any of us went through this sort of experience. Everything you need for survival is right there and there's a good supply of it."
When asked what he thought of the exercises, Lt. Brink answered quickly and emphatically, "This is the sort of program I would recommend for every squadron. You never know when, or if it'll be needed, but there's nothing like being prepared."
Lt. Freudenberg, officer in charge of the afternoon drill, commented on how simple the operation seemed but added, "Let's hope we don't have to use it!"
DUE CREDIT should be given the men of the Sea-Drome Boat Detail who stand round-the-clock vigilance. Located on Keehi lagoon, the alert crew are to "shipwrecked" sailors what firemen are to a metropolis. They waste no time in speeding to the scene of mishap. F. C. Ramsey, BMC, is chief in charge of the boat house at Keehi lagoon.
“Hey! I even went fishing with hook and line provided in the raft emergency survival kit.” -
Jack Masters, August 2003 "Don't drink the water unless....."