USS Gerald Ford helps evacuate sailor during sea trials

The aircraft carrier helped evacuate a sailor from the USS Oak Hill who required urgent medical attention

USS Gerald Ford helps evacuate sailor during sea trials

The future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) underway on its own power for the first time. The first-of-class ship -- the first new U.S. aircraft carrier design in 40 years -- will spend several days conducting builder's sea trials, a comprehensive test of many of the ship's key systems and technologies. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/DVIDSHUB)

Hugh Lessig
Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)

The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford, at sea for its first round of trials, evacuated a sailor from the USS Oak Hill Wednesday who required urgent medical attention, the Navy said.

The sailor is currently in stable condition at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center.

Around 11:30 a.m., the Ford received a request from the Oak Hill for a medical consultation with Capt. Kimberly Toone, Ford's senior medical officer. After reviewing the patient's status and talking to other Navy leaders, the decision was made to evacuate the sailor from Oak Hill to Portsmouth Naval.

Ford was the closest available responder to the Oak Hill, a dock landing ship.

An MH-60S helicopter from the "Sea Knights" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 transported the patient. The four-man crew consisted of pilots Lt. Dallas Rhodes, Lt. j.g. Matthew Grinsteinner, Aviation Warfare Specialist 2nd Class Justin Boyle and Aviation Warfare Specialist 3rd Class Justin McCrary.

After the sailor was transported, Capt. Richard McCormack, Ford's commanding officer, addressed the crew to express his pride and appreciation, according to the news release from Naval Air Force Atlantic.

The first-in-class ship is at sea for builder's trials, the first time it has sailed under its own power. It left Newport News Shipbuilding Saturday. Its return date hasn't been announced.

During builder's trials, sailors test the ship's basic systems, including high-speed turns.

Ford is not the first first-in-class to provide medical assistance during sea trials, the Navy said. In December 2015, the USS Zumwalt was in the middle of sea trials when it received a distress call from a fisherman with chest pains. Zumwalt worked with the U.S. Coast Guard to provide care.

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©2017 the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service