Kodiak crew named NHA 2012 Aircrew of the Year

2012 Naval Helicopter Assoc. Aircrew of the Year (non-deployed)

NORFOLK, Va. - The Kodiak-based Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew responsible for rescuing the crew of the fishing vessel Midnite Sun in February 2011 in severe winter weather conditions near Kodiak, Alaska, is awarded the Naval Helicopter Association's 2012 Aircrew of the Year Award at their annual symposium in Norfolk, Va., May 15, 2012. Pictured from left to right are Retired Navy Rear Adm. Steven J. Tomaszeski, NHA chairman of the board, Retired Navy Capt. Mike Baxter, NHA director, Lt. Cmdr. Craig Neubecker, pilot, Lt. Mark Heussner, co-pilot, Petty Officer 1st Class Claude Morrissey, rescue swimmer, Petty Officer 3rd Class Mike Wallace, flight mechanic, and Navy Capt. David Bouve, NHA president. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Kimberly Neubecker.

The Kodiak-based Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew responsible for rescuing the crew of the fishing vessel Midnite Sun in February 2011 in severe winter weather conditions was awarded the Naval Helicopter Association’s 2012 Aircrew of the Year Award (non-deployed) at their annual symposium in Norfolk, Va., May 15, 2012.

At approximately 12:41 a.m. on February 11, 2011, the Coast Guard received a report that the fishing vessel Midnite Sun was taking on water and sinking near Afognak Island, Alaska, north of Kodiak Island. Battling driving blizzard conditions, darkness, 70 mph winds, low ceilings, poor visibility, blowing snow, icing and severe turbulence, the rescue helicopter made the treacherous flight to the stricken vessel navigating in and around unforgiving mountainous terrain, relying on charts, GPS and radar as visual references came and went to reach the stricken vessel.

“The CG6007 crew worked flawlessly as a team to ensure the safe execution of this critical mission,” said Lt. Cmdr. Craig Neubecker, aircraft commander. “Each crewmember’s airmanship and courage stood out as they rose to the challenge, allowing the lifesaving rescue of all five crewmembers from the stricken vessel and for them to safely return home.”

The NHA was founded in 1976 and is incorporated in California as a 501(C)(7) nonprofit professional organization to promote the development and use of naval vertical lift aircraft in the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard; provide a forum whereby persons in these organizations involved with vertical lift aircraft can interact with each other at meetings and conventions; to provide recognition to those persons who have made significant contributions to those purposes.

For more information on the case please visit the District 17 newssite.

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