PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Most business agreements are solidified over coffee and a handshake at a boardroom table, but joint mission partners here commemorated signing their host-tenant support agreement in a first-time epic fashion.
Host base commander Brig. Gen. Wayne R. Monteith, 45th Space Wing, and tenant unit commander Col. Kurt Matthews, 920th Rescue Wing, agreed to demonstrate their commitment to mutual-support and shared resources in an unforgettable way: by skydiving from a combat rescue aircraft onto Cape Canaveral Air Force Station June 8.
“This jump allows me to get to know our partner’s mission in an up-close and personal way,” Monteith said. “It’s a celebration of our host-tenant support agreement and it further solidifies the tremendous partnership we have with each other.”
To ensure they were prepared for their tandem jump adventure, Rescue Airmen conducted a short training session and issued the two wing leaders safety gear before the team boarded an HC-130P/N King aircraft used for search and rescue and air-to-air refueling.
Once the aircraft was airborne, both commanders were fastened to Guardian Angel Airmen specialized in combat rescue: Lt. Col. Ryan Montanaz, 308th Rescue Squadron Commander and Chief Master Sgt. Mike Ziegler, 308th RQS top enlisted Airman, while they mentally prepared for the leap of faith.
After climbing to an altitude of approximately 10,000 ft., the loading ramp slowly opened, allowing cold air to fill the aircraft. Once over the drop zone, the jumpmaster gave the signal and the men executed freefall sky dives.
“Solidifying support agreements between the host base organization and the 920th is huge,” Matthews said. “It ensures both of us can maintain a symbiotic relationship in which we can support each other using our strengths. It’s a significant milestone and this was a great way to celebrate it.”
The 45th is an active duty wing that ensures space launch and combat capabilities for the United States. The 920th is a reserve wing that focuses on combat search and rescue efforts around the world. Despite having distinctly different missions, both entities have coexisted here for more than two decades and will continue to do so after signing what they have termed as a new robust support agreement.
"This agreement signifies our ability to help the 920th Rescue Wing provide worldwide, deployable combat rescue capability without duplicating personnel and infrastructure efforts," said Myron Gutjahr, 45th SW support agreement manager. "One of the most advantageous way to support our Nation is through this total force concept."
In addition to celebrating the agreement, the tandem jump served as training for the 920th reservists. In special situations they skydive with non-qualified jumpers who require access to isolated locations.