PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
A group of approximately 140 Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing are deploying to Georgia to exercise their hurricane relief capabilities. If the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Air Combat Command gives the order to provide disaster relief following Hurricane Florence’s devastating effects to the east coast, the 920th will be ready to help.
“We train constantly for situations like this. Our Airmen our highly specialized and have the ability to utilize their expert combat life-saving skills and aircraft to provide relief and rescue,’ said Col. Kurt Matthews, 920 RQW commander, who flew disaster relief missions during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 which led to 1,043 lives saved.
Last September, the wing deployed to Texas and flew disaster relief missions in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey saving 235 people, 21 dogs and 5 cats.
Yesterday, Wing Airmen launched four HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and two combat-search-and-rescue King HC-130P/N aerial refueling aircraft to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia to stage for relief operations. A C-17 Globemaster will transport the rest of the rescue equipment and personnel from Patrick to Moody AFB today.
The rescue team includes combat-rescue aircrew, maintenance and support personnel, as well as Guardian Angel Rescue Teams consisting of pararescuemen, combat rescue officers and a survival evasion resistance escape specialists, or SERE specialists. Among their proficiencies include trauma medicine, swiftwater rescue and nighttime hoist operations which will allow the team to operate a 24-hour operation.
“Its times like these we can't thank the civilian employers of our Reservists enough for the sacrifices they make to allow Reserve Citizen Airmen time off to support potential crisis situations. Air Force Reservists and their civilian employers are integral part of our national defense,” said Matthews.
The Wing has a 50-year history of saving lives, and its Airmen have rescued more than 3,000 personnel in peacetime and in combat. They live by the motto, “these things we do that others may live.”
Link to video of HH-60G Pave Hawks departing Patrick Air Force Base Sept. 12, 2018: https://dvidshub.net/r/hf53mo