Pangs of loss for Pedro felt in the Carolinas

After Hurricane Floyd in September 1999, the three MCAS Cherry Point-based HH-46E SAR birds of Marine Transport Squadron One (VMR-1), popularly known as “Pedro” rescued 399 people directly threatened by the floods that followed and provided logistical support with emergency delivery of water and food supplies to volunteer workers and isolated communities throughout Eastern North Carolina.

HH-46E Sea Knight helicopter (Pedro) with Marine Transport Squadron 1 (VMR-1) lowers a rescue bucket during water survival training at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point on July 9, 2013..jpg

HH-46E Sea Knight helicopter (Pedro) with Marine Transport Squadron 1 (VMR-1) lowers a rescue bucket during water survival training at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point on July 9, 2013. USMC photo.

But, due to budget cuts, the last two USMC SAR units– the four HH-1N Iroquois helicopters at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona, and Pedro– were axed at the end of last year without replacement.

While VMR-1 had made headlines during Floyd, the Yuma-based HH-1s were celebrated when they saved 28 Boy Scouts lost near the Colorado River in 2014.

Now, with Hurricane Matthew, the absence of the three old Phrogs of Pedro were felt in their community.

“We lost the most valuable resource you could ask for in times like we’re going through right now,” said Stanley Kite, emergency management director for Craven County.

“Those guys were trained professionals to do search and rescue. They were trained professionals to do extraction from trees and water. They were invaluable,” said Kite. “I think it also relates to the Marine aviator training. In weather situations where other aircraft wouldn’t attempt it, the Marine aviator crew would go right on. Sometimes it wasn’t inclement weather. It was just the threat of inclement weather and we couldn’t get anybody else, but they would go.”

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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