by Sgt. Marisa Lindsay
Alaska National Guard Public Affairs
3/12/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Airmen
with the Alaska Air National Guard's 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue
Squadrons rescued a 65-year-old man who was injured while snowmachining
near the Tanana River, approximately 24 miles southwest of Fairbanks,
Alaska State Troopers notified the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center
around 10 p.m. Saturday after Troopers relayed a cellphone call from the
According to the RCC, Alaska State Troopers and LifeMed were unable to
execute the mission because of the terrain and time restrictions.
The rough terrain and remote location of the individual made the
situation a good candidate for the Alaska National Guard's unique
hoisting and air-refueling capabilities.
The Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing accepted the mission and
launched an HC-130 "King" refueling aircraft from the 211th Rescue
Squadron and an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th Rescue
Squadron. Each had on board a team of Guardian Angel rescue personnel
from the 212th Rescue Squadron, from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Because of the poor visibility and the lack of a GPS locating device,
the snowmachiners used a fire and flashlight in order to signal the
"The HH-60 helicopter had to try multiple routes to get through the
passes due to low ceilings and poor visibility," said Lt. Col. John
Morse, deputy director for the 11th Air Force Rescue Coordination
Center, Alaska Air National Guard. "The helicopter had to be refueled by
the HC-130 a few times in flight before the team was able to find the
survivor, hoist him to safety and get him to a medical facility."
The man was stabilized and hoisted onto the helicopter before being
transported and arriving at the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital at 8:30 a.m.
"It's important that people realize how important having a personal
locator beacon is with the extreme weather and terrain that's
experienced in Alaska," Morse said. "Have a trip plan, let someone know
where you are going and when you'll be back and be prepared to spend
multiple days out in the elements in the event your machine breaks down
or you get lost."
The members of the 210th, 211th, and 212th Rescue Squadrons were awarded with one save for the mission.