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USS Gunston Hall Works with Cyprus SAR Units

October 8, 2014 at 12:32 PM UTC

MEDITERRANEAN SEA – The amphibious dock landing ship USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) participated in a bilateral Search and Rescue Exercise (SAREX) off the coast of Cyprus with search and rescue units from the Republic of Cyprus, Oct. 7. The SAREX focused on daylight search and rescue (SAR) operations, deck-landings with SAR helicopters, and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) drills from Gunston Hall’s flight deck.

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"Anytime we get an opportunity to participate with a partner in any exercise, it truly benefits both sides," said Gunston Hall’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. Sean K. Burke. “If a MEDEVAC mission were to present itself, the Cypriots now have the confidence and experience to react swiftly and cohesively with our Naval forces.” The exercise began with the Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC Larnaca) receiving a simulated distress call from Gunston Hall requesting MEDEVAC for two injured Sailors. AW-139 rescue helicopters assigned to Cyprus’ 460 SAR Squadron and the Cyprus Police Aviation Unit were dispatched in response. The SAREX aims at improving personnel and rescue units’ capabilities and readiness while responding to potential SAR missions and other humanitarian operations within the Republic of Cyprus region and throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. The SAREX marks the third exercise completed with the Republic of Cyprus this year. Each SAREX had a unique scenario and was completed successfully. “Today’s success shows that when the time comes, we can work with our partner to accomplish our mutual goals,” said Burke. “Everyone involved on both sides performed flawlessly and professionally. It was an honor working with the country of Cyprus.” U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa. By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jesse A. Hyatt, USS Gunston Hall Public Affairs Join the conversation on Twitter follow us on Facebook and while you're at it check us out on Google+

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