January 23, 2017 – Sailors and Marines aboard amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) rendered medical assistance to a Pakistani sailor while operating in the Gulf of Aden, Jan. 20.
Pakistani naval vessel PNS Tariq (1973) requested assistance from Naval Amphibious Forces, Task Force 51 and 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade for a sailor experiencing abdominal pain. The sailor was transferred to Military Sealift Command dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6) and flown to Makin Island in the evening by the embarked “Blackjacks” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21. Makin Island’s medical team, along with embarked members of Fleet Surgical Team (FST) 5, began assessment and treatment after receiving the patient.
Makin Island has the largest afloat medical facility in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, and houses medical and dental facilities to support surgery, military and civilian casualty receiving, stabilization for complex trauma injured patients, and general health care for members of the amphibious ready group and marine expeditionary unit.
“The capabilities our medical professionals bring to the theater greatly increase the chances of patient survivability by mitigating the risk of loss of limb, life, or eyesight of our Sailors, Marines, partners, and allies,” said Makin Island Commanding Officer Capt. Mark Melson. “We are thankful to have been in the right place at the right time to help a fellow mariner.”
The crew on Tariq expressed gratitude to the surgical team aboard Makin Island for the rapid medical response.
Makin Island, flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is operating in the Gulf of Aden in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
Makin Island ARG is comprised of Makin Island, the command ship for Amphibious Squadron 5 and the 11th MEU, as well as amphibious transport dock USS Somerset (LPD 25), which is embarking on its maiden deployment, and amphibious dock landing ship USS Comstock (LSD 45). Embarked units, which extend the ARG’s capabilities, include HSC-21, FST-5, Tactical Air Control Squadron 11 and Assault Craft Unit 5.
The 11th MEU is a sea-based Marine Air-Ground Task Force comprised of a ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines; an aviation combat element, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 (Reinforced); a combat logistics element, Combat Logistics Battalion 11; and a command element with a commanding officer who leads the entire MEU.