Lieutenant Commander Simon Greene is back at Joint Base Cape Cod after he and his crew spent three days last week rescuing people in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
The challenge, at first, was just getting there; they flew through the storm as it hit.
We were getting beat up pretty good getting into Houston,” said Greene. “We dropped down out of the clouds, immediately saw large portions of the city inundated with water.”
And then the rescues began with no real game plan.
“It was basically catch as catch could,” said Greene. “There were so many people needing rescue at that time, we didn’t really get specific tasking, we just went out and kind of provided our own tasking.”
There was no shortage of people who needed help, including some in wheelchairs.
“We saw people waving towels, smart phones with lights on it is a great way to catch people’s attention, so anytime we saw something like that, we would drop down, hoist,” said Greene.
The commander and his team found people on cars, roofs, and just standing in driveways in chest-deep water.
One member of the crew would drop down from the helicopter with a basket.
“He would decide which ones were the most in need of hoisting,” said Greene. “We hoisted little babies, we hoisted pregnant women, we hoisted folks that were attached to dialysis machines, he had to go into their house and unhook.”
The rescue mission took place in demanding conditions, including limited visibility, driving rain and unfamiliar territory.
In all, this one crew alone saved about 100 people over three days.