By Lieutenant (Navy) Kelly Boyden
|Irish Coast Guard Helicopter while Medically Evacuating a member of the RCN|
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Halifax joined forces with the Irish Coast Guard to airlift an injured sailor to a nearby hospital on October 15, 2015, while at sea in the North Atlantic.
HMCS Halifax put out a call to the Irish Coast Guard after a sailor suffered an upper body injury while training on board the ship. The ship’s medical staff immediately tended to the sailor but deemed the injury required care best offered at a nearby hospital.
An Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew quickly responded to the call and lowered a rescue worker and a stretcher to the ship. Together with HMCS Halifax medical staff, the sailor was secured in the stretcher, raised into the helicopter, and taken to a nearby hospital in the Dublin area. The sailor was released from hospital later in the day, and returned to Halifax, Nova Scotia, the following day, where he is expected to make a full recovery.
Meanwhile, for HMCS Halifax and the Irish Coast Guard, the incident provided a great example of Canadian and Irish interoperability in action.
This interoperability has been fostered in recent years through a program known as Regulus, which facilitates exchanges with partner navies from around the world. This past summer, Rear-Admiral John Newton, Commander of Maritime Forces Atlantic, was in Cork, Ireland, to meet with Irish Navy officials regarding the program. Since 2010, the program has seen over 150 Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) members serve with foreign navies, including the Irish Naval Service, and aboard warships, research vessels, and coast guard cutters.
The program provides RCN participants with real-world operational experience, and a greater understanding of life in a foreign culture. In turn, the RCN sends training teams to other nations’ naval schools and accepts their members into technical and operational courses in Canada. The aim is to promote greater relationships and overall interoperability between Allied partners.
This has also been HMCS Halifax’s goal during the course of its current deployment. The ship recently worked with Allied forces to enhance overall mission preparedness during Exercise JOINT WARRIOR and Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE, NATO’s largest exercise in more than a decade. These shared skills can be called upon anywhere and anytime, whether it be working together to care for an injured colleague or partnering to bring safety and security to our world.