GULF OF ADEN – Combat Aircrew Five of Patrol Squadron (VP) 10 (The Red Lancers), from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, currently forward deloyed to the 5th FLEET area of responsibility and serving as part of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), assisted in the rescue of a hostage held by suspected pirates off the coast of Yemen, Sept. 10. Earlier in the week, a French yacht sent out a distress signal from the Gulf of Aden. A helicopter later located the yacht with no one aboard.
The ‘Red Lancers’ were tasked with flying nearly 1,100 miles to investigate approximately 9,000 square miles of water in search of a small vessel suspected of containing pirates and hostages from the French vessel. The aircrew located the suspicious skiff and tracked it heading south toward the Somali coast.
The Spanish amphibious ship SPS Galicia (L-51) launched one of its helicopters to locate the skiff with support from the Red Lancer aircrew. The skiff was approached and boarded by the Galicia boarding team. One hostage was found onboard and rescued, and several suspected pirates were taken into custody. The skiff was sunk as a hazard to navigation.
VP 10 provides intelligence, reconnaissance, and deterrence support from the air, in both an overland and open-water capacity, in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.