Command Master Chief Raymond F. Charest, assigned to the guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66), speaks with a rescued Afghan who was found adrift at sea and brought aboard to be treated in the ship’s medical department. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew R. Cole)
NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY, Bahrain – USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) flew two stranded Afghan mariners from the North Arabian Sea to Kandahar, Afghanistan, April 16 to complete their journey home.
The two men were rescued at sea after guided-missile cruiser USS Hue City (CG 66) found them adrift on three blue barrels in the Gulf of Oman, April 7.
“The U.S. Navy 5th Fleet contributes to security and stability in the Gulf on an enduring basis. When our presence puts us in a position to render aid to mariners in distress, it validates the importance of our six-decade long commitment to the region,” said Vice Adm. John Miller, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces.
The two men were found on April 7 at 3:18 p.m. local time, 90 nautical miles off the coast of Oman when a lookout on the cruiser spotted them waving their arms in distress. The ship launched a small boat to rescue them and then treated the individuals for hypothermia, dehydration and exposure. They were in good condition after receiving medical care, dry clothes and food as well as having the opportunity to contact their families.
The men told the ship’s interpreter they were from Afghanistan and survived at sea for two days after a fire on their dhow left them adrift.
“The United States Navy is always ready and willing to help a fellow mariner at sea and we are glad that we were in the right place at the right time to lend a hand,” said Capt. Dan Uhls, USS Hue City commanding officer. “The crew did a spectacular job and it is days like today that makes me proud to be a member of the United States Navy and this coalition.”
A C-2A Greyhound, from VRC-40 Rawhides embarked on Dwight D. Eisenhower, flew the Afghans to Kandahar, where further plans have been coordinated to take them to their hometown. The two men said they were very appreciative of the U.S. Navy for saving them.
“I’m very pleased to see these men return to their home in Afghanistan. The professionalism of the men and women who coordinated their safe return should be proud that they continue to contribute to the excellent relationship we have with our regional partners,” said Miller.
Dwight D. Eisenhower is homeported in Norfolk, Va., and is on a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.