Silverthorne native leads Navy rescue in Nevada
Silverthorne native Lt. Conrad Schmidt led a search and rescue team of five that saved someone from the Double Hot Springs in Nevada in late May.
As a mission commander of the Longhorn Helicopter Search and Rescue Team from Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada, Schmidt spends most of his days training for civilian and military rescues.
Schmidt said the rescue was pretty straightforward but that it was the first rescue where he actually saved a life.
“The biggest thing for me personally was the fulfillment of doing the rescue, saving the life and then seeing how all of our training comes to fruition,” Schmidt said. “It all comes together in the end when we get a call, the team comes together, the support network comes together, interactions with the local community in the sheriff’s office all come together, and you’re able to get something done pretty efficiently, and that was really cool to see.”
For this particular rescue, Schmidt said an individual fell into the Double Hot Springs north of the Black Rock Desert in a remote part of northern Nevada and sustained severe burns.
The person’s friend initiated an emergency GPS tracking device they had on hand, notifying the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.
After the Sheriff’s Office determined it could not reach the site by ground, it tried to activate Washoe County’s regional aviation unit, which was stuck in Reno, Nevada, due to poor weather conditions.
That led to the Navy being called in, and Schmidt’s team took off within an hour of hearing about the accident.
“We have a much larger aircraft, and we practice this type of stuff all the time, so it was pretty benign — no hoisting or rappelling out of the aircraft or anything kind of crazy like that,” Schmidt said. “But we were able to transplant that individual into our aircraft and then essentially medevac him to the hospital in Reno.”
Schmidt said the hospital in Reno did not have a burn center, so the individual was then flown to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California, where he was treated and made a recovery.
As mission commander, Schmidt flew the helicopter alongside copilot Lt. Elizabeth Frey of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Also on board were Chief Petty Officer Jeffery Roscoe of Bay City, Michigan; Aircrewman Petty Officer 2nd Class Abdullah Nurmohamed of St. Rose, Louisiana; and Medical Technician Hospital Corpsman Jacob Parker of Pensacola, Florida.
It was the fifth rescue of the year for the Naval Air Station Fallon Search and Rescue Team, Schmidt’s third of the year and the first in which the team reached the individual in need of help.
After completing his first rescue, Schmidt said it was fulfilling to see the team’s hard work and training pay off.
“Our mission is to save lives,” Schmidt said. “You hope that you don’t have to do it, but when one of those comes up, and we’re finally able to make an impact and do something with what we’ve trained to do in that mission, it’s fulfilling. That’s what I felt mostly, was a sense of fulfillment that the training for two, three years worked out, and we were able to get the mission done.”
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