Wednesday, June 05, 2013

General Patton, We Need You Now

Commentary by Lt. Colonel John Lewis Cook, USA (ret.)

On Tuesday, I watched some great acting on TV.  Most of it would have qualified professional actors for an Academy Award but, unfortunately,  these actors were not professional. They were merely politicians, U.S. Senators to be exact.   They pretended to be outraged at the alarming number of sexual assaults in the military and they hauled all the military brass they could find before the Senate Armed Services Committee to demonstrate just how outraged they were.
There were a great deal of sound bites  and fury but it signified little since real facts were in short supply.  Anyone that has ever seen Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart will remember the scene where Captain Renault of the Casablanca Police force is “shocked! Shocked to discover that gambling is going on at Ricky’s,” at the same time he taking kickback to keep it going.  That was a great movie but it was fiction.  What is going on in Washington now is, unfortunately, not fiction. 

Here are the only facts that matter, regardless of all the hype.  Recently, the Department of Defense reluctantly released the results of a service wide survey dealing with sexual assaults in the military for 2012.  This survey revealed that there were 26,000 sexual assaults across all services in 2012.  However, only one in eight of these assaults were reported.  

If you watched these hearings on Tuesday, you would naturally assume that most of these assaults were against women committed by big, brutish heterosexual males but you would be wrong.  The dirty little secret that was not discussed during these hearings is this.  Of the 26,000 sexual assaults reported in the survey in 2012, 14,000 were male on male assaults.  That’s not a mistake; that’s the truth. Only 12,000 were male on female assaults.  However, this dirty little secret was not discussed in any detail yesterday.  In fact, it was not discussed at all and to actually know this is the fact of the matter  will require you to read the whole report.  

This is why I would nominate the Senators and the witnesses for Academy Awards for their acting.  They pretended that there was no dead cat on the dining room table and they carried it off with perfection.  So, instead of dealing with the real issue, the Senators created a phony issue and used it to batter the witnesses, the senior military brass.  The phony issue goes something like this.  Since so few of the victims are coming forward and reporting the assault, perhaps the unit commanders should be by passed and the victim allowed to report directly to some Sexual Assault Czar outside the military unit’s chain of command.  This makes sense only to a politician who has no experience with how the military operates because the commander is ultimately responsible for good order and discipline.  

Many of the Senators seemed to be surprised that the number of assaults from 2012 showed a 35% increase over 2011.  Why the increase?  They pretended to not know the answer but it really is not that hard to figure out, even for a U.S. Senator. It’s really quite simple.  In late 2011, legislation was passed to allow gays to serve openly in the military.  Don’t ask don’t tell was dead.  The military became the next best thing to the Catholic church for horny homosexuals and, according to the numbers in the survey, they wasted little time in taking full advantage.  Naturally, these spineless Senators do not want to face the reality that they could have prevented homosexuals serving openly  in the military but they didn’t do it.  If this awful truth is exposed, they may get some of the blame and, God knows, they don’t want that.  

There was a time, not so long ago, where parents worried about their daughter going into the military for fear that she may be assaulted by a male.  This was not a concern of parents who sent their sons off to the military.  Unfortunately, all of this will now have to be rethought. The daughters may very well be assaulted by lesbians and the sons raped by homosexuals.  And there was poor General Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the look of the deer in the headlights, giving the standard answer that more needs to be done etc., etc.

Have things gotten as bad as they can get and can we now hope for things to get better?  Unfortunately, the answer is no.  Things will get much worse for the American military.  Just like the Boys Scouts of America, our military is not what it used to be.  Also, consider this.  It is simply a matter of time before a General officer comes out of the closet and announces that he or she is gay.  If General Patton came back today, would he understand any of this?  If he slapped a soldier for being a coward in combat,  what would he have done to a homosexual?  Of course these are different times than what Patton experienced.  During his day, the military won wars.  He left social experiments to others, where the stakes were not as high if the experiment failed.  It’s a pity we don’t have a George Patton to put in front of these spineless Senators today.

If we fast forward twenty years, is it possible that the entire defense of the nation will be in the hands of a bunch of homosexuals?  Is it possible that the most critical decisions concerning national defense will rest with those that are so abnormal and unstable as to engage in unnatural acts?  God help us all.

About the Author
Lieutenant Colonel John Lewis Cook, United States Army (Retired), “served as the Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Interior in Kabul, Afghanistan, with responsibility for developing the force structure for the entire Afghan National Police.  As of 2012, this force totals 157,000.  From March 2008 until August 2012, his access and intimate associations with all levels of the Afghan government and coalition forces have provided him with an unprecedented insight into the policies which will determine the outcome of the war.  It is this insight, coupled with his contacts and associations throughout Afghanistan that form the basis of Afghanistan: The Perfect Failure.
Click to read more about Lt. Colonel John Lewis Cook

Jelinski-Hall: Men, women united by uniform, single standard

by Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau

5/30/2013 - ARLINGTON, Va. -- Male and female service members are united by the uniform they wear and by a single, shared standard, the senior enlisted advisor to the chief of the National Guard Bureau said here last week.

"We do not serve based on gender, race or creed," Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall said during a ceremony at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington Cemetery. "We serve united by the uniforms we wear.

Noting that the lifting of a ban on women serving in combat is exponentially increasing opportunities for women in the military, Jelinski-Hall stressed the importance of a single standard regardless of gender.

"As you move forward to seize your opportunity, remember there is no separate standard for men and women," she said at a Women in the Military Wreath Laying Ceremony sponsored by the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues to coincide with the Memorial Day weekend.

"There is only the standard," Jelinski-Hall said. "Any woman who can meet the standard for the particular role she seeks in our armed forces can -- and increasingly does -- have the opportunity to succeed and to serve."

Nearing the end of a career that took her from the Midwest prairie to the Pentagon and from Airman to the senior enlisted advisor for a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Jelinski-Hall was one of five senior enlisted female service members honored as part of the May 22 ceremony.

The others: Army Command Sgt. Maj. Billie Jo Boersma, Navy Master Chief April Beldo, Marine Sgt. Maj. Angela Maness and Coast Guard Master Chief Julie Gunderson.

"Each has distinguished themselves in their respective branches, each has seized an opportunity to create a great moment for themselves and in so doing have created great moments for all women in the military," Jelinski-Hall said of her fellow honorees.

More than 300,000 -- or 15 percent -- of the nation's almost 2.3 million active and reserve component service members are women.

"We have contributed in unprecedented ways," Jelinski-Hall said. "We have fought, we have bled, and we have died alongside our brothers in arms in Iraq, in Afghanistan and wherever our nation called us to serve -- and did so proudly.

"As we look to the future on women in service, we all have one thing in common: An all-encompassing love for the United States of America and a desire to serve our nation."

Iowa Air Guardsmen Train for Disaster Relief

by Tech. Sgt. Sara Robinson
132 Fighter Wing

6/2/2013 - Camp Ashland, Nebraska -- Severe weather is on the forefront of all of our minds as we see the destruction caused by tornados in recent weeks. However, the Iowa Air National Guard is always prepared to fulfill their role in disaster relief. They recently trained with members of the Nebraska Air and Army National Guard to practice their search, recovery and decontamination disaster plan.

These guardsmen are all members of a group called the Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear and Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package (CERF-P). Their job is to provide immediate response capability to the Governor, searching an incident site, including damaged buildings; rescuing any casualties, decontaminating them, and performing medical triage and initial treatment to stabilize them for transport to a medical facility (this includes extracting anyone trapped in the rubble).

A vital element of that package is the 132 Fighter Wing's contribution as the Fatality Search and Recovery Team (FSRT). These services Airmen provide a valuable resource by collecting human remains in a respectful and dignified manner. They remove the fatalities from a contaminated area to a place where they can be properly cared for.

"The most important part of our job is knowing that we are getting the deceased back to their living relatives to help provide closure to anyone who may have experienced a loss in one of these situations," say Staff Sgt. Brandon King, FSRT member.

Fatality recovery is not a pretty job, it's not a happy job, but someone has to do it. Not just anyone can do it either. Individuals need to feel comfortable in their protective gear and able to move in confined spaces. They need to be physically fit and able to lift 200 pound mannequins in the 90 degree heat. Those are only the physical requirements. The mental toll can be much greater on a person.

"The hardest part of being part of the FSRT would be the need to recover the remains of children. They are so young and defenseless. It makes it worthwhile though being able to give the family their child so they can have a proper burial," says Tech. Sgt. Branden Hassett, FSRT team leader.

The FSRT team does a job that is not very popular but a vital role following any catastrophic event. They need to function in unfavorable conditions and deal with unthinkable sights, sounds and smells. A lesson that we learned after events like Katrina when remains where left in the view of citizens for days on end. This caused serious issues both mentally and on a public health standpoint.

"That is where we play a key role is during that initial shock. Because the faster you go into an environment to handle what has happened the better and easier the recovery is. The quicker people can hopefully go back to their normal lives. That's what we are here to do," explains Maj. Tim Pegg, FSRT OIC.

Some members of the team have experience dealing with the collection of remains. Hassett volunteered for the team after an experience overseas with a downed pilot. He was working mortuary affairs at the time and saw firsthand benefits of his mission. He said it makes the difficulty of collecting worthwhile to know that the pilot would be returned to his wife for a proper burial.

"I volunteered to be a part of the FSRT because they were having a hard time finding people. It's a hard job. I knew from my time overseas that this is something that I can mentally handle and not everyone can," explains Hassett.

Staff Sgt. Ryan King also has experience from his time overseas. His advice is to be as proficient as possible with all of the things that you can learn ahead of time because when you are faced with a real world casualty you never know what will happen.

"You can train with the equipment and get used to the Hazmat suits and know what you are going to do as far as operating procedures but until you have actually been down range and dealt with a situation like this, you really don't know how you are going to react," explains King.

Realism is the key to any training and this scenario based exercise is not different. Without being able to provide the real world situation to train in, trainers come as close as they can. They enlist the help of local actors and lots of fake blood. Their version of a tornado ravaged Omaha zoo is complete with collapsed buildings and confused citizens looking for loved ones. All of the buildings are fake and all of the people's injuries are makeup, but the teamwork needed to accomplish this mission is very real.

"Our team has been together for quite a while so they are an outstanding team. Some of the best people that we have in services are out here today. We have a highly motivated, highly technical team and they will accomplish the mission extremely well. I attribute that success to both the joint training and the individual training that we are able to accomplish throughout the exercise," says Pegg.

Decontamination plays a major part of what the team practices. Since the 'hot zone' is filled with a potential deadly gas, the team needs to know how to properly clean themselves of any contaminates. Everyone helps each other through the spraying and scrubbing of the suits and gear before they are cleared from the area.

The team has training on Hazardous Material procedures, different chemicals and handling remains. Their protective suites play a vital role in the exercise and being able to do their job. Even with all of this specialized and costly gear, Pegg says that they could not do the mission without his most important asset... his team of highly motivated Airmen.

"I think one of the most important things we have out here is our people. Without the people being motivated, trained and qualified to do their job, it just can't be done. Having these volunteers step up, take time off of their full time job time after time to show up for training has really contributed to a successful mission," says Pegg.

So until they are needed in a real world situation. The 132nd Fighter Wing's FSRT will continue training and being ready at a moment's notice in hopes that they will never be called up with the bad news that somewhere their services are needed.

Air Commando excels through MAVNI program

by Staff Sgt. Melanie Holochwost
Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

5/23/2013 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- A Korean native stationed here was one of the first Airmen to join the Air Force and earn his U.S. citizenship through the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest Program.

Senior Airman Seung-Jae Oh, U.S. Air Force Special Operations School cultural advisor, was one of seven Airmen selected for the Air Force MAVNI pilot program.

The MAVNI pilot program allowed the Defense Department to recruit up to 1,000 non-citizens who didn't have permanent resident status, but had been in the U.S. legally for at least two years. The recruits needed to possess critical skills the military needed like medical, foreign language, and/or cultural expertise.

Oh said he stumbled across the MAVNI program in a Korean-language community newspaper during his third semester at the University of Notre Dame. He said he was attracted to the benefits and decided to apply.

"I came to the United States as a teenager with my family," he said. "I was 'Americanized' and I didn't want to leave. I really wanted to earn the right to be a citizen in an honest way. Plus, I was struggling financially with college tuition, so the GI Bill could really help me."

However, it wasn't only about the benefits. Oh said he wanted to give back to the United States and serve with honor and distinction.

So far, he's deployed to Korea twice in support of training exercises and proved MAVNIs can be very useful in enhancing mission effectiveness. He's also trying to extend his enlistment so he can fill a 365-day deployment by the end of the summer.

Oh was a very motivated team player, according to his Army supervisor on his latest deployment.

"He sought out every training opportunity possible during Balance-Knife, including a six-hour night movement over rough terrain," said U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2nd Class Chadd Kuhn, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group Airborne.

During the exercise, Oh translated and interpreted conversations between roughly 100 U.S. and Republic of Korea Special Operations Forces personnel.

"I did both literal and figurative translation," Oh said. "Translating technical terms, jargon, and acronyms that ROK personnel were relatively familiar didn't require too much thinking. However, when they referred to ideas, people, events, or customs that were not well known outside the culture associated with the language, I added some background information to facilitate the communication."

Oh said he would translate/interpret the statement without making any changes, but then follow it up with some clarification based on his read of the speaker's intention.

"I also took care to ensure that this added information, which did not come from the speaker but from me, did not contradict the message being transmitted," he said. "Subtle nuances are difficult to get across in a different language, but I did my best to preserve them as well."

Kuhn said Oh's technical expertise allowed the entire group to communicate and train effectively.

"For two of the six-week deployment, Oh was the only interpreter present for training," Kuhn said. "This required him to translate 10 to 12 hours a day."

Oh said ROK soldiers often regretted their level of English was not high enough to get their point across without relying on linguists. As a result, Oh said he helped them out by attending social gatherings.

"As time went on both sides were somehow able to communicate better without going through an intermediary," Oh said as he laughed.

When he's not deployed, Oh is fully integrated into the academic courses at USAFSOS, said his supervisor, Master Sgt. Leslie VanBelkum, USAFSOS language-enabled combat advisor.

Oh has briefed USAFSOS students on Korean culture during several different courses throughout the year, VanBelkum said.

"MAVNIs like Oh are a huge benefit to us because they can see both the American and their native countries' perspective with ease," he said. "They are so valuable because unlike some linguists, the language and culture just comes naturally to them."

Oh is now part of the MAVNI working group, which is focused on improving the program.

"The expedited process to become a citizen was a bit complicated when I went through it," Oh said. "The program was new and only a very few people on base were familiar with it. One of the biggest changes we made was eliminating tech school. The new Air Force MAVNIs will go straight into their jobs at USAFSOS after basic training."

Oh also dedicates his spare time to tutor Korean linguists who are stationed here, VanBelkum said.

"Oh is the brightest and most dedicated Airman I have ever had the pleasure of serving with," he said. "His life experiences have helped American SOF bridge the cultural divide and build long-lasting partnerships."

Soldier Trains for Paralympics

By Tim Hipps
U.S. Army Installation Management Command

SAN ANTONIO, June 4, 2013 – Paralympic swimming hopeful Army Spc. Elizabeth Wasil doubles as a model of resilience and as a poster soldier for the Army Strong Bands campaign.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Spc. Elizabeth Wasil earns one of her five gold medals April 14, 2013, at the 2013 Texas Regional Games at Trinity University in San Antonio. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Wasil bounced back from triple surgery for injuries to both hips by plunging into a pool and learning to swim competitively. She quickly stroked her way into the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, or WCAP, which provides soldiers an opportunity to train full-time for Olympic sports.

Now she's competing against some of the best para-athlete swimmers in the world, with visions of earning a spot on Team USA for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Wasil won five gold medals in less than two hours April 14 at the 2013 Texas Regional Games at Trinity University. She took the 100-meter freestyle in 1 minute, 12.54 seconds and also won the 100-meter breaststroke (1:26.87), 50-meter freestyle (34.00), 100-meter individual medley (1:12.39) and 100-meter backstroke (1:28.84).

"I want to be that one to beat," Wasil said. "It's amazing to be in WCAP. We have great strength and conditioning coaches, like Capt. [Jason] Barber. His mindset is push me until I can't take it anymore, and I like that, because a lot of people like to back off para-athletes.

"I figure I better push myself as hard as I can, and we'll find out what I can and can't do," she added with a big grin.

Wasil since competed in her second Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., where she is stationed at Fort Carson. Earlier this spring, she set a national record (3:14:14) for her division in the long course 200-meter breaststroke at the 2013 U.S. Paralympics Spring Swimming Nationals in Minneapolis.

"In Minneapolis, I was seeded as third, 14th, 12th -- I wasn't very promising in my events," Wasil said. "But then I raced them and I placed first in all of them. I had quite a bit of competition at that one. It was the first time I had a full heat of people in my same classification, so it was pretty intimidating, but it was an absolutely wonderful experience."

Wasil already exceeded her short-range goal of returning to duty. She was serving as a medic in Katterbach, Germany, when she was injured.

"I have bilateral hip injuries that I sustained while I was in Iraq," Wasil said of the incident that is still being investigated. "I was there for five months in 2009 and 2010."

Wasil was evacuated and treated at Army Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany, and Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Three surgeries later, she has embraced new challenges with a vengeance.

"I showed up at the pool to swim one Saturday morning, and Master Sgt. Rhoden Galloway was there," she recalled. "He asked me if I would like to learn how to swim, because I didn't know what I was doing, and I said 'yes.' His wife, Shayna, started working with me, and within about a month they taught me the four basic strokes. And then I started trying out for the Warrior Games team."

Before departing for the 2012 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Wasil competed at the Texas Regional Games here, where she received her classification as a para-athlete.

"[I] had my first competition, and I fell in love with it," she said. "I had good, patient coaches."

Wasil soon met below-the-knee amputee Sgt. Jerrod Fields, a track and field Paralympic hopeful in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, at the 2012 Warrior Games.

"He asked me if I had any interest in pursuing swimming full-time, and I laughed at him and I said, 'Yeah, OK,'" she recalled. "And he said, 'No, really, we have a program.' And that's when I found out about WCAP. I started entering every competition I could find within the U.S. to try to make a standard time to get into WCAP."

Wasil needed only five meets to swim WCAP qualification marks in the 100-meter breaststroke and 50-meter freestyle. Had she not participated in the Warrior Games, she would not be training for a spot in the 2016 Paralympic Games.

"They didn't know that I was classifiable, so I didn't swim against the physical-injury category," Wasil explained. "I swam open and I still medaled gold, silver and bronze against able-body females. That's when I thought: 'Maybe I can do this.'"

Throughout her recovery, Wasil yearned to return to duty.

"I kind of had a point to prove," she said. "I really wanted to be found fit for duty. Once I started winning, and once I started doing well in the water, people started taking me more serious that I really could get to a place to where I could be a medic again.

"One of the greatest things that came out of this was July 3 of 2012, after two and a half years, I was finally found fit for duty to be a medic again, which is what I love,” she said. “And then WCAP picked me up, so it's been an amazing year to go from such a low place to being injured and being worried about even staying near the military to being in such a central focus of it and getting to meet so many amazing athletes."
Wasil's story was touching even before she found the military.

Originally from Prescott Valley, Ariz., she graduated from Arizona Project Challenge, an at-risk youth program, at age 16. After attending Yavapai and Chandler-Gilbert Community Colleges for a year, she joined the Army at 17.

"Arizona Project Challenge has unfortunately closed its doors this past year, but it was an amazing program run by the National Guard," Wasil said. "It was a five-month at-risk program, and you actually got some college education while you were there, as well. And they gave you a scholarship when you graduated. I graduated company and color guard commander and I was one of the youngest in the program.

"That's where I fell in love with the Army, because I loved the structure and the mentors I had there that I had never had in my life before. It was the first place that really encouraged you to be a free thinker and to take responsibility. It was so much different than the life I was used to."

Likewise, Wasil is now a poster soldier swimming in a world she never knew.

"In Arizona, we all swam growing up," said Wasil, who did not consider herself a competitive swimmer until last year. "My brother swam in high school, but I did not. I swam when I was much younger, just with the summer team for fun in Arizona. I guess if racing your brother and your neighbor counts, then sure.

"It's been a very strange year,” she continued. “I guess I owe all of it to Warrior Games because I never would have pushed as hard to become competitive. I had no idea what the Paralympic world was."

Pope total force team restores historic WWII cannon

by Senior Airman Melissa Dearstone
440th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

6/4/2013 - HOPE MILLS, N.C. -- Teamwork and dedication brought volunteers from the 440th Maintenance Squadron, Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps., and civilians together to refurbish a World War II 105 millimeter howitzer cannon at Veteran's Memorial Park in Hope Mills, N.C.

Hope Mills Mayor Jackie Warner presented the volunteers with certificates of appreciation at the board of commissioners meeting May 6 and recognized them for not only refurbishing the cannon, but also for cleaning up the park.

Nine volunteers spent their weekends helping with this project, according to Senior Master Sgt. Mark Slade, 440th MXS structural maintenance supervisor. "We not only preserved the cannon, but we pressured washed the benches and cleaned up the park to make it nicer and more presentable for the community of Hope Mills," slade said.

The cannon, designed to provide light and field artillery support for tactical infantry units, was becoming an eyesore and safety hazard and was going to be removed from the park if it not restored.

"Before we began the refurbishing process, we assessed the cannon and took what we could apart," said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Dudley, 440th MXS. "We took the parts we could and sand-blasted them, got rid of the rust and corrosion, and then painted them. We did the same with the parts left on-site."

Senior Airman Brandon Hamilton, 440th MXS, said that he and team leader Staff Sgt. Marcus Martinis researched the cannon to make sure they got the original color scheme correct in order to preserve the historical value.

Hamilton said that this project showed the community that military members' willingness to get involved and help one another.

"The work done between the active duty members, ART's, JROTC and civilians shows how we can all work together as a team and set a good example to everyone," said Dudley about the total force effort to refurb the cannon. "We are all under the same flag and it is important that we can all work together to accomplish goals."

Rescue group Airmen pick up injured paraglider

by Master Sgt. Luke Johnson
943rd Rescue Group public affairs

6/4/2013 - DAVIS MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Southern Arizona Citizen Airmen from the 943rd Rescue Group rescued an injured paraglider during a late-night mission May 31.

The rescue team was taking part in a night vision goggle parachuting training exercise when the helicopter flight mission commander overheard a possible downed aircraft with injured people onboard.

"As the pararesucemen were jumping with NVGs out of the helicopter, I heard communications about a downed aircraft with an injured person onboard and another individual walking around the crash site," said Capt. Brent Watts, 305th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter pilot.

Watts immediately responded to let local rescue assets know he had a team in the area that had all of the necessary medical equipment and personnel onboard to assist.

He learned that the Life Flight response helicopter was unable to land at the crash site due to the steepness of the terrain. He also found out that the aircraft was a paraglider.

"Once we were assigned the mission, we had to improvise with the medical gear that we had on hand because we were not going to waste time turning around," said Tech. Sgt. Richard Dunn, 306th Rescue Squadron pararescueman. "We loaded our medical gear and came up with a rescue plan in flight."

As the rescue team arrived on scene in the Santa Rita Mountains, south of Tucson, Ariz., they learned that one of the survivors was in good condition, but the other had a broken leg and arm.

"The steep terrain forced us to crawl on our hands and knees in the dark to get to the victim; we had spent a lot more time on the ground than originally planned securing and treating the patient," said Dunn.

Once secured onboard the helicopter, they treated and transported the crash victims to the University of Arizona medical center emergency room.

"The teamwork between the PJ's on the ground and the aircrew was phenomenal," said Dunn. "We planned the mission in flight, and once on the ground were able to improvise and overcome the challenges we faced on difficult mountainous terrain."

This was the second night rescue for the 943rd RQG within two weeks. The group responded to and airlifted an injured hiker from the Chiricahua National Monument May 22.

"It was very rewarding to be part of this mission," said Dunn. "This mission motivated me to work harder and do my best during all of the long hours of training that we do as PJ's."

Watt's echoed Dunn's sentiments on how countless hours of training and preparing for every possible scenario has helped ensure a flawless rescue mission.

"We are the best equipped and trained search-and-rescue team in Southern Arizona, and it's really rewarding to be able to pull someone from a perilous situation and immediately evacuate them to get the care they need," said Watts.