>Coast Guard aviator Lt. Sean Krueger serves tour in England and receives prestigious British award


Lt. Sean Krueger returned this spring from a tour among Britain’s naval airmen. During his time there he was the aircraft commander on “Rescue 193”, an H3 Sea King helicopter, resulting in the rescue of a fisherman suffering from a life-threatening abdominal injury. The man was rescued from a fishing vessel 172 miles southwest of the Isles of Scilly in the Atlantic Ocean in 58 mph winds and seas of more than 40 feet.
Krueger (second from the right) and his crew were awarded the prestigious Prince Philip Helicopter Rescue Award presented by the British Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators at their annual Trophies and Awards Banquet in London Oct. 29.

Krueger is currently serving as an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter pilot and the administrative department head at Coast Guard Air Station Sitka.

I had the opportunity to ask Lt. Krueger about his time abroad representing the Coast Guard and the award and this is what he said:

The Coast Guard has had a pilot exchange with the Royal Navy since the early 1980’s. We send someone over to fly SAR in Royal Navy Sea Kings. The Royal Navy sends someone to Miami to fly HH-65’s. It’s a great program, with lots of good procedural information and rescue techniques changing hands over the years. I was just fortunate enough that the job was open when I was due to rotate. I joined 771 Naval Air Squadron from Air Station Cape Cod in January 2007, and departed for my current tour in Sitka in March of 2009.
It took approximately eight months to complete all the required training, which was quiet difficult. The Royal Navy keeps a very high and aggressive training standard, which took a while to get used to. I was the only American on the squadron, and there was only one other American (USN Pilot) at another squadron on the base, Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose. RNAS Culdrose is located on the southwest tip of England in Cornwall county, about a five hour drive from London.
Living in England was great. The locals were very welcoming. Both my children attended local schools, and both developed very strong English accents! We were able to travel quite a bit as well.
The squadron was very busy, especially with SAR, averaging 300+ cases both years I was there. Most every case required a hoist of some sort, and most were either a “cliff” type rescue, or an off-shore medevac. The weather was very challenging; lots of wind and poor visibility.
As for the rescue…the award citation and the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators page has the details of the case. http://www.gapan.org/about-the-guild/trophies-and-awards/award-winners/the-prince-philip-helicopter-rescue-award/
It was by far the most challenging rescue that I have ever done. There was a distinct point where we considered aborting due to the challenging conditions, however after one last try, we got our guy aboard. We were very disheartened to have the man pass away from his injuries on our way to the hospital given the extreme effort required to get him off the boat. However, we were happy with the fact that we gave him the best chance to make it.
The awards presentation was a great experience. It was held in one of the original Guild Halls in London, a building over 600 years old. The guild can trace their roots back to Roman times. Lots of history. We were one of the final awards presented. The biggest thrill for us was the fact that Captain Charles Sullenberger (US Airways Captain who landed on the Hudson; also an award winner) came up to congratulate us on our award. It should have been the other way around, but so it goes!
We were also awarded the Edward and Maisie Lewis Award for an outstanding air and sea rescue by Shipwrecked Fisherman and Mariners’ Royal Benevolent Society; that awards presentation was on October 14th. I did not attend that one.
LT Sean Krueger

For more on the award see the news release on http://www.uscgalaska.com/ or visit the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators.

Sara Francis PA1
CG D17 Public Affairs

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