By Lt. j.g. John Waters
VP-8 Public Affairs Officer
"Fighting Tigers" Combat Aircrew Three (CAC-3) of Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 successfully aided in a Search and Rescue (SAR) effort in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) at the request of Coast Guard District 14 based out of Guam.
During the three-day detachment, the aircrew found two survivors marooned on an uninhabited island roughly 500 nautical miles from Guam. The castaways were stranded on the island due to a recent tropical storm in the Western Pacific and were able to make it ashore with their skiff.
The survivors constructed a small hut on the beach and were able to subsist more than a week with extremely limited resources.
The P-8A CAC-3 aircrew was able to contact multiple Automated Mutual Assistance Vehicle Rescue Program assets in the area; the Kyowa Orchid as well as the Dyna Crane.
The vessels were able to deploy rescue craft to the island, leading to the rescue of the couple Aug. 25.
"It was incredibly rewarding to be able to contribute to the couple's return to their family, and we were thankful we had the resources to participate in the search," said Lt. Patrick McCarthy, the flight's Mission Commander.
The couple was on a routine trip from their home on Weno Island to a neighboring island when they became stranded and were missing for nine days before the crew began their search.
The aircrew searched more than 4,500 square miles over two days and ultimately located the survivors on the second day.
The Navy P-8A Poseidon aircrew discovered the stranded couple in the Caroline Island chain via a signal mirror from their 18-foot skiff, as well as an "S.O.S." message scrawled in the sand on the island's small beach area.
"I am very proud of the hard work and professionalism of our aircrew and maintainers," said Cmdr. Christopher Wood, commanding officer of VP-8.
He added that, "Missions such as this showcase the versatility and flexibility of our Sailors and highlights the true multi-mission capabilities of the P-8A Poseidon."
VP-8 is currently deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operations conducting Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and ASW missions to support units throughout the Pacific theater.