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Alaska Air National Guard rescues possible stroke victim

A U.S Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter assigned to the 210th Rescue Squadron, Alaska Air National Guard, conducts aerial refueling from a U.S. Air Force HC-130J Combat King II assigned to the 211th Rescue Squadron, Alaska Air National Guard, over Alaska, Jan. 21, 2021, during Operation Noble Defender. Operation Noble Defender is a North American Air Defense Command air-defense operation that allows dynamic training for operational readiness in an Arctic environment.

A U.S Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter assigned to the 210th Rescue Squadron, Alaska Air National Guard, conducts aerial refueling from a U.S. Air Force HC-130J Combat King II assigned to the 211th Rescue Squadron, Alaska Air National Guard, over Alaska, Jan. 21, 2021, during Operation Noble Defender. Operation Noble Defender is a North American Air Defense Command air-defense operation that allows dynamic training for operational readiness in an Arctic environment.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – Members of the 176th Wing of the Alaska Air National Guard medically evacuated a possible stroke victim Feb. 20 at Stoney River Lodge 200 miles west of Anchorage and about 30 miles east of the village of Sleetmute.

Alaska Air National Guard Lt. Col. Keenan Zerkel, Alaska Rescue Coordination Center director, said the Alaska State Troopers requested assistance because of the range limitations of a civilian medical evacuation agency's helicopters.

Maj. Kevin Kelly, rescue coordination center senior controller, requested assets from the 176th Wing. The wing launched a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk search and rescue helicopter carrying two pararescuemen (PJs) from the 212th Rescue Squadron and a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II.

The HH-60 departed Anchorage and flew directly to the lodge so the PJs could assess and stabilize the patient before flying back to Anchorage. The HC-130 departed approximately two hours later to conduct air-to-air refueling with the helicopter on the return.

The Pave Hawk crew then transported the patient to Providence Alaska Medical Center and released him to medical personnel.

"This medevac illustrates the seamless relationship between the Troopers, civilian medical evacuation agencies, the RCC and the 176th Wing," Zerkel said. "It makes for better outcomes to patients throughout our state."

For this rescue, 210th RQS, 211th, 212th RQS and AKRCC were awarded one save.

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