PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
From Hurricane Andrew to Hurricane Katrina, the Airmen of the 920th Rescue Wing are no strangers to helping fellow Americans affected by Mother Nature’s wrath.
Nearly a month after being called to respond to Hurricane Florence search-and-rescue operations, Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing were activated as the 334th Air Expeditionary Group to lead rescue operations after Hurricane Michael’s destructive path across Florida’s Panhandle, Oct. 11, 2018.
Airmen from around the nation gathered at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida ready to support.
“Seventy percent of our force is made up of traditional reservist, who have civilian jobs and work beside you,” said Lt. Col. Adolph Rodriguez, 334th Mission Support Group commander.
Getting people to leave their families and work behind to support hurricane relief is part of the commitment, he added.
Before being called to conduct search-and-rescue operations, the group was tasked to surveillance the damage caused by the storm and headed to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, with two HH-60G Pave Hawk Helicopters and an HC-130N King aircraft.
Before the storm, Florida Gov. Rick Scott activated the state’s National Guard, but the call for the 334th AEG to lead rescue operations was never released.
Although the advance rescue capabilities the wing has to offer were not utilized, the Airmen of the 920th stand ready for the next disaster.
“Rescue is in our name and we train for this every day … risking our lives that others may live,” Rodriguez said.
After Hurricane Harvey’s destructive path in 2017, the Airmen of the 920th rescue wing were credited with saving 235 lives in Texas.