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In the midst of sea trials, aircraft carrier Ford comes to aid of sailor on other ship

By BROCK VERGAKIS | Tribune News Service | Published: April 14, 2017

NORFOLK -- The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford came to the aid of a sailor on another warship who needed to be taken ashore for medical treatment, the Navy said Thursday.

The Ford was undergoing builder's sea trials Tuesday when it got a call for assistance from the dock landing ship USS Oak Hill.
Naval Air Force Atlantic said in a statement that a sailor aboard the Oak Hill needed urgent medical attention and had to be taken to Portsmouth Naval Medical Center.

A Seahawk helicopter from the "Sea Knights" of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 22 picked up the sailor and flew the patient ashore.

"We got the word, coordinated the necessary permissions, and were off-deck shortly thereafter," Cmdr. Jody Smotherman, Ford's combat direction center officer, said in a news release.

The Ford is the Navy's next-generation aircraft carrier and has been undergoing a comprehensive test of many of its key systems. The Navy says it is not the first ship to provide medical assistance during sea trials

The destroyer USS Zumwalt did so in 2015, after receiving a distress call from a fisherman experiencing chest pains off the coast of Maine, the Navy said.

The aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) pier side at Newport News Shipbuilding, April 9, 2014.
NEWPORT NEWS SHIPBUILDING

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