Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty: CGNR 2309 crew, Air Station Cape Cod

Lt. Jamison Ferriell, Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Woods and Petty Officer 3rd Class Chriostpher Lelyo stand for a photo during an award ceremony. The three crewmembers and Lt. Erik Price, not pictured, transported a medical team and supplies to save a baby during a blizzard in February 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Lt. Jamison Ferriell, Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Woods and Petty Officer 3rd Class Chriostpher Lelyo stand for a photo during an award ceremony. The three crewmembers and Lt. Erik Price, not pictured, transported a medical team and supplies to save a baby during a blizzard in February 2015. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cynthia Oldham

The Commander Elmer F. Stone Award is presented to an HC-144 Ocean Sentry Air Station Cape Cod crew for their heroic efforts in February 2015.

The actions of Lt. Jamison Ferriell, Lt. Erik Price, Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Lelyo, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Woods resulted in saving the life of a premature baby during a severe winter storm.

On February 8, 2015, the governor of Massachusetts declared a snow emergency for the state. A severe winter storm hit Boston and the surrounding areas adding to the piles of snow that already existed from previous blizzards. The storm left civilian aircraft grounded, including emergency medical flights. As the storm hit, a premature baby was born on Nantucket and in need of medical care beyond what the island’s hospital could provide. Doctors gave the baby four hours to live.

In addition to the baby, the HC-144 crew from Air Station Cape Cod was called upon to transport a team of neonatal specialists from Tufts Medical Center along with a 455-pound neonatal incubator.

The infant was struggling to breath – time was of the essence for the aircrew. The aircrew immediately began to make plans for their mission. The pilots needed to coordinate aircraft weight and balance to ensure the aircraft’s limited cargo capacity was adequate for the delivery of a three-man specialized medical team and a 455-pound neonatal self-contained incubator.

Taking off in extreme weather conditions pushed the limits of the aircraft performance envelope, and into whiteout, blizzard conditions, the crew battled snow, ice, and turbulence en route to Nantucket.

“Snow and ice are those things you never want to encounter when you’re flying,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Woods. “We had both of them that night, but it’s one of those things you push aside when a child’s life is on the line.”

Upon arriving on scene, the crew landed onto the short, narrow, nearly unapproachable field to medevac the baby.

Once on deck, the crew’s expert direction of airport ground and ambulance crews facilitated a speedy and life saving medical transfer.

Returning to Air Station Cape Cod was even more difficult than the departure, with ceilings and visibility at precision approach minimums and crosswinds at limits, the crew safely executed an approach to the ice and snow covered runway, saving one life.

“We had a very professional and well-trained crew, which allowed us to safely transport the medical team to the island, stabilize the newborn infant, and return everyone safely back to base,” said Ferriell, pilot. “It is a tremendous honor to be recognized for our actions and to receive the Commander Elmer F. Stone award, especially knowing that our actions that night contributed to saving the life of an infant.”

Do you know someone who embodies the Coast Guard Core Values of Honor, Respect, Devotion to Duty? Please submit your nominations using the “Submit Ideas” link on the right.

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