CHERRY POINT - The crew members of the rescue helicopter Pedro experienced a "first" on Monday.
The pilot, rescue swimmer, and corpsman on board had never been a part of an over-land search and rescue mission.
But their first attempt was a success.
"We chose to do search and rescue for a reason," said HM3 John Nelson, the Navy medic on board.
The Pedro crew rescued the three boys, who had become disoriented during a walk through the Croatan Forest in Carteret County.
"[The boys] were all standing in the deer stand, just waving us down," Nelson said.
Authorities' goal was to rescue the boys before sunset, and that's what they were able to do with the help of the Pedro crew.
The main mission of Pedro, which is based at Cherry Point, is to rescue service members in the event of a downed military aircraft, Pedro crew members said.
But they're available for missions such as Monday's forest rescue call.
Crewmembers interviewed Thursday said it's fulfilling to be able to use their training to help the community.
The father of one of the rescued boys reacted Monday after the boys' return.
He wanted to thank everyone who was involved, including the Pedro crew.
"We're so... grateful for everything they've done," Jason Nelson said.