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Yuma's Search and Rescue crew ensures young guitarist keeps playing

By Lance Cpl. Jakob Schulz & Cpl. Austin Hazard | | May 20, 2010

With the aid of a Search and Rescue crew from the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., a local teenager, who severely injured his hand in the Gila Mountains Feb. 27, 2010, can still play guitar.

In fact, Bobby Brown, 17, was able to perform in the Yuma Battle of the Bands with his band “Palo Verde Street” May 15, 2010.

As a guitar player, Brown initially had doubts about whether he would be able to play again.

“After it happened, I just had that thought that I wouldn’t be able to even hold my guitar again, much less play,” said Brown.

However, Brown now has full use of his thumb and hand.

Brown and his friends were hiking in the mountains when a rock was kicked loose and struck Brown in the head. He then fell, breaking the joint of his right thumb and severing nerves in his right hand. After his friends called for help, local authorities requested that station SAR perform the rescue.

Traveling more than 17 miles east to the Gila Mountains, SAR arrived on the scene. A SAR corpsman then rappelled to Brown, placed him on a stretcher and hoisted him up to the helicopter. SAR rescued the youth in less than an hour.

“It was pretty treacherous where he was,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles White, SAR corpsman. “We normally want to land and have all four crewmembers help stabilize and transport the patient to the helicopter. However, in that situation we had to do the hoist.”

After the rescue, station SAR handed Brown over to Care Flight, which transported him to Phoenix for medical care. This quick action and SAR’s timely response led to Brown’s full recovery.

Brown said he was very appreciative of SAR for their efforts.

“It was really quick,” said Brown. “The whole time I felt that they knew exactly what they were doing, like they had practiced this over and over, like it was just another day.”

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