Skip to comments.NYPD saves 2 West Point cadets in mountaintop rescue
Posted on 02/20/2011 8:36:02 AM PST by jimbo123
Heroic NYPD cops battled ferocious winds and sub-freezing temperatures as one was lowered from a hovering helicopter onto a mountaintop cliff early today to rescue two near-dead West Point cadets whod gotten stranded in the dead of night after wandering away from their unit during a training exercise.
The amazing death-defying rescue took place about 2:30 a.m. atop Storm King Mountain several miles north of the United States Military Academy at a time temperatures had plunged to 18 degrees and winds were gusting as high as 50 mph.
Aviation Unit Officer Steve Browning and Detective Mike Sileo, pilot and co-pilot and their crew of three used infrared and night vision equipment to spot the wayward cadets, who were suffering from hypothermia while trapped on the craggy, tree-ringed cliff. Browning was able to maintain the Bell 412 Air, Sea Rescue chopper in position hovering high over the rugged terrain while Emergency Services Unit medic Chris Condon was lowered to the stricken cadets.
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
I’m guessing they will not get high marks in terrestrial navigation and outdoor survival this semester.
Wind gusts were pretty strong at ground level so it must have been a chore maneuvering the copter up there.
Kudos to these brave Cops!
About a decade or so ago, a marine went missing at Twentynine Palms during a CAX. He succumbed to the elements. Everyone in his chain of command - from squad leader to battalion commander, was reprimanded or relieved of command.
They’ll never live it down. Could be desk-pilots in future.
Glad they’re OK.
And, I’d still take those two kids on my side over a thousand of the Madison protester/losers any day!
The area around Storm King mountain contains miles of dark and eerie-looking woods once you leave, or miss, some of the local trails. There are areas where even in the middle of summer the forest barely allows sunlight to reach the forest floor which is covered by centuries of dead vegetation. Even with a map and compass I’m guessing it’s not too hard to get lost around there as many still missing hikers have found to their sorrow.
Amazing to get a helicopter up there in the middle of the night in a storm. Search and Rescue usually operates in daylight hours. What courage!
Later in the day, or perhaps that night, someone realized they had forgotten to go collect him. They later found his body.
Lotta layoffs after that. My recollection is that went up to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, or almost, but I could be wrong.
When I taught at West Point, I was responsible for Land Navigation training, a skill that all cadets were required to master. When assigned the responsibility, I was surprised to learn that some years before, land navigation training and the qualifying test had been changed from an individual task to a buddy task, in part because of the rugged terrain in and around West Point. This, of course, meant that up to one half of the cadets might not be able to navigate without their competent buddy. Not good. We got that changed, but the safety naysayers fought it all the way up to the Superintendent. Some cadets did get lost, but eventually they all learned this essential skill.
Unfortunately, the advent of GPS has meant that navigation skills are no longer thought to be so essential and training has suffered. I wonder if West Point has returned to the buddy system for Land Nav training. If they have, these two were probably the less skilled of their team.
I'm not sure if the Commandant was censured (I don't believe he was but I was in the Navy and not the Marines, so I could be mistaken), but the CG of that Division and certainly the regimental commander very well may have been reprimanded also. The way you've described the events, are precisely how I remember them, as well.
NYPD does rescues upstate?
Someone can look forward to a little AI on Land Nav!
Guess that’s a result of the move to a military intercession during January
Don’t try to tell me these police aren’t heroes!
Well, West Point isn't THAT far upstate, but it's certainly outside of NYC. Why didn't they send Army helos after the men?
Interesting. When I was a cadet at West Point, day land nav (at least during Buckner) was individual while night land nav was with a buddy.
I always found land nav around West Point to be fairly easy - the high relief of the area makes dead reckoning very practical. Of course, I never spent any time on Storm King. The mountain was closed down during my time because they’d found some old unexploded ordnance up there.
Of course, this might not have been land nav training at all. It could have been a field problem for Commandant’s weekend. In that case, they might not have had maps at all and were just separated from their units.
Or, it might have been Yuks who failed land nav during Buckner and were making it up, though this seems a tad late in the school year for that.
I was speaking of the hapless cadets, not the police.
“I was speaking of the hapless cadets, not the police.”
I understood that. I was addressing a general audience.