Seven years ago, on the morning of 29 August 2005, Hurricane Katrina made its second of three landfalls on the Louisiana coast near the town of Buras-Triumph. The response to the subsequent flooding that resulted in New Orleans and much of the central Gulf Coast included the contributions of 293 Coast Guard, Navy, Marine Corps, and other military helicopters. These Naval Aviation assets spearheaded the search and rescue (SAR) efforts that ultimately rescued thousands of people trapped by the storm. The author, who was serving in the Navy in 2005, tells the story of one of those helicopters and its crew during the aftermath of Katrina.
I was blessed to serve as the SAR officer and pilot with the NAS Pensacola SAR Unit (renamed Helicopter Support Unit) from 2003 ?to 2005. During this period, my crew and I had the opportunity to assist with the SAR efforts in the New Orleans area following the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. Out first SAR mission was on 30 August (27 persons hoisted), and the second one was conducted on 2 September 2005 (20 persons hoisted). In my opinion, these two missions were the pinnacle of my naval flight career.