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A call for Rescue in the Horn of Africa

Master Sgt. Joel Lindsey's daughter hams it up for local news stations prior to her father, an electronic integrated systems supervisor for the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., deployed to the Horn of Africa Jan 25. Her father is among the 60 Rescue Reservists who will be deployed from the 920th in support of the ongoing search and rescue and humanitarian relief efforts there. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Natasha Dowridge)

Master Sgt. Joel Lindsey's daughter hams it up for local news stations prior to her father, an electronic integrated systems supervisor for the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., deployed to the Horn of Africa Jan 25. Her father is among the 60 Rescue Reservists who will be deployed from the 920th in support of the ongoing search and rescue and humanitarian relief efforts there. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Natasha Dowridge)

An HC-130P/N King refueling aircraft, piloted by Rescue Wing Airmen of the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., prepares to take off Jan 25. An estimated 30 Rescue Wing Airmen deployed in two of the wing's HC-130's to the Horn of Africa. The C-130's will be used to fly missions throughout the region in support of the ongoing search and rescue and humanitarian relief efforts there. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Rob Grande)

An HC-130P/N King refueling aircraft, piloted by Rescue Wing Airmen of the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., prepares to take off Jan 25. An estimated 30 Rescue Wing Airmen deployed in two of the wing's HC-130's to the Horn of Africa. The C-130's will be used to fly missions throughout the region in support of the ongoing search and rescue and humanitarian relief efforts there. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Rob Grande)

Capt. John Withelder, HC-130P/N King aircraft pilot, 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., buckles up prior to take off Jan 25. Rescue Airmen deployed to the Horn of Africa to support the ongoing search and rescue and humanitarian relief efforts there. The HC-130's mission is to rapidly deploy to execute combatant commander directed operations to austere airfields and denied territory for expeditionary, all weather personnel recovery operations to include airdrop, helicopter air-to-air refueling and forward area refueling point missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Natasha Dowridge)

Capt. John Withelder, HC-130P/N King aircraft pilot, 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., buckles up prior to take off Jan 25. Rescue Airmen deployed to the Horn of Africa to support the ongoing search and rescue and humanitarian relief efforts there. The HC-130's mission is to rapidly deploy to execute combatant commander directed operations to austere airfields and denied territory for expeditionary, all weather personnel recovery operations to include airdrop, helicopter air-to-air refueling and forward area refueling point missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Natasha Dowridge)

Master Sgt. Joel Lindsey, electronic integrated systems supervisor, 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., gives his daughter and son a hug and kiss Jan 25. Lindsey is one of approximately 60 Rescue Airmen deploying to the Horn of Africa for 120 days to support the ongoing search and rescue and humanitarian relief efforts there. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airmen Natasha Dowridge)

Master Sgt. Joel Lindsey, electronic integrated systems supervisor, 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., gives his daughter and son a hug and kiss Jan 25. Lindsey is one of approximately 60 Rescue Airmen deploying to the Horn of Africa for 120 days to support the ongoing search and rescue and humanitarian relief efforts there. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airmen Natasha Dowridge)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Famine, war and drought have forced 13.3 million people living in the Horn of Africa into one of the world's largest humanitarian crises over the past year-and-a-half.

Along with the rainfall that has started to quench the parched earth there, Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing here are on their way to the region as part of the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa to offer their rescue might for the next four months.

Family members gathered here Jan. 25 to bid them farewell, which they said is never easy, but Rescue Airmen have collectively expressed their patriotism and desire to help.

Once in place, approximately 60 Airmen will ramp up their two combat-search-and-rescue aircraft and pour their energy and expertise into rescue and humanitarian relief efforts.

"The Horn is a busy place and our Airmen's presence is essential to creating and maintaining a stable, secure environment for the people of East Africa," said Col. Mark Blalock, 920th Operations Group Commander.

They will join service members from each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, civilian employees and representatives of coalition and partner countries whose overall mission is to conduct operations to enhance partner nation capacity, promote regional security and stability, dissuade conflict, and protect US and coalition interests.

The CJTF-HOA areas of responsibility (AOR) include the countries of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Seychelles. The CJTF-HOA area of interest (AOI) includes Yemen, Tanzania, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Burundi, Rwanda, Comoros, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.

The 920th RQW CSAR aircraft, known as HC-130P/N King, is a tanker aircraft capable of refueling search-and-rescue helicopters and delivering supplies. It also serves as a jump platform for Pararescue Airmen and is the only dedicated fixed-wing combat search and rescue platform in the Air Force inventory. It is piloted by a crew of 6-7 Airmen.

The deployment comes as one of many for Airmen of the 920th RQW. Currently, 70 Rescue Wing Airmen are deployed to Afghanistan providing life-saving medical evacuations of combatants wounded on the battlefield.

Air Force pararescue is the only military service specifically organized, trained and equipped to conduct personnel recovery operations in hostile or denied areas as a primary mission.

"It's (supporting the CJTF-HOA) something we've been a part of for a very long time, that we're very proud of," said Col. Robert Ament, 920th Rescue Wing vice wing commander. "Right now we have two-thirds of our wing Airmen deployed overseas, and are expecting to be welcoming a portion of them home very soon," he said.

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