The mariner, a 75-year-old American citizen, had been adrift without sail or power for 12 days when he was rescued by personnel aboard USS Frank E. Peterson, Jr. (DDG 121), 300 miles south of Oahu, and transported aboard the ship to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, July 6.
"This search and rescue operation speaks to the capability of the U.S. Navy to respond quickly, aggressively, and safely across a lot of ocean to save a life and have positive mission impact,” said Cmdr. Daniel A. Hancock, the on-scene commander of the rescue effort and commanding officer of Frank E. Peterson. “I am proud of the crew's professionalism in response to short-notice, real-world tasking.
The ship worked in coordination with the Joint Rescue Coordination Center and the U.S. Coast Guard’s 14th District, who provided the information needed to locate and contact the sailboat and were waiting at the pier to escort him for customs and caretaking.
“The combined effort and coordination displayed by everyone involved resulted in an efficient and successful rescue,'' said Lt. Charles Lesperance, an operations unit controller for Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu. “These partnerships in the Pacific are essential in creating a force multiplier to cover such a large area of operation.”
Additionally, the 14th District provided aerial support with a HC-130J long-range search and rescue aircraft to verify the location of the sailboat in advance of the ship’s arrival, verify the condition of the vessel and see the mariner aboard.
Once aboard the ship, Frank E. Peterson personnel provided the mariner medical attention, as well as food, water and the opportunity for rest after his ordeal. He had been underway for 54 days.
“The safe rescue of this mariner reflects their character and tenacity, and emulates the daring, toughness, and mission success of our namesake, Lt. General Frank E. Petersen, Jr.,” said Hancock. “This is a capable warship but her real strength is without a doubt her determined crew."
The mariner had lived aboard the sailboat for the past three years and had been sailing from New Zealand.
Frank E. Petersen Jr. commissioned on May 14 in Charleston, South Carolina, and is the Navy's newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer.