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Whidbey's Navy always delivers...even babies

A 19-year-old Lopez Island woman suffering from childbirth complications had a healthy baby girl early Wednesday thanks to the help of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station's Search and Rescue unit.

According to Lopez Fire Department paramedic Marty Clark, at about 12:30 a.m. the woman began having difficulties after going into labor early. Clark said the patient had seen her physician just the day before, and that the baby was breech, so a C-section was scheduled in two weeks.

It presented a dangerous situation, he said.

"It was questionable if one or both would have survived," said Clark in a telephone interview with NAS Whidbey Island's Public Affairs Office. "There were complications, and we were between a rock and a hard place."

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center received the call from San Juan County Dispatch and in turn called NAS Whidbey Island's Operations Duty Office at 1:35 a.m. By 3 a.m., a Search and Rescue MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter crew launched with helicopter aircraft commander Lt. Scott Zenner, pilot Lt. Cmdr. Fred Morrison, crew chief Naval Aircrewman Helicopter 2nd Class Salomon Padilla, Naval Aircrewman Helicopter 1st Class Zachary Brunette and Hospital Corpsman Cory Wendland.

The patient was picked up by SAR at the Lopez Airport, leaving at 3:35 a.m. and within five minutes arrived at Island County Hospital in Anacortes. The crew was back at the air station by 3:57 a.m., completing another emergency medical evacuation safely.

"This is the third rescue SAR has done on Lopez Island in 2010," said Cmdr. Dan Worra, NAS Whidbey Island's Operations Officer. "We were glad to be able to put our professional skills, and all-weather capability, to work to help our neighbors."

The mother was glad to share that she had a healthy baby girl.

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