WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. —
The smell of pine trees and the peacefulness of rushing rivers in the high country is evident across much of the state of Washington.
The region is a hiker’s dream.
However, this beautiful landscape has a potentially lethal side that can claim the lives of even the most-experienced hikers. Luckily, sailors from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s Search and Rescue team are on 24-hour duty.
“Our job is to go out and save people, whether it’s pulling them out from the water or from the side of a mountain,” said Navy Lt. Chris Pitcher, the air station’s SAR operations officer, “and we train almost every day for those different scenarios. So when those scenarios do pop up, we’re not surprised, and we can get the job done and get that person to a higher level of care.”
Although the opportunity to be able to focus on saving lives makes NAWSI SAR a choice assignment for most naval aircrew members and pilots, the opportunity to live in an area like the Pacific Northwest makes the billet just as coveted.
“This is definitely the place to be,” said aircrew member Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Cody Wall. “There’s just so much to do here if you like being in the outdoors, whether it’s hiking, snowboarding, camping or climbing. But it’s not just the area that makes this place nice….