WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. - Airmen of the 101st Rescue Squadron from the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing teamed with Marine Corps Reserve aviators for a training exercise at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base Feb. 2.
Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773, known as the Red Dogs, is a Marine Corps Reserve squadron headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst in New Jersey. The Marines fly the Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter and the Bell UH-1Y Venom transport helicopter.
The joint training involved the simulated rescue of a downed pilot, employing a 101st Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter crew, followed by the refueling of the Air Guard helicopter by the Marine Corps Reserve aircraft.
During the rescue phase, known as TRAP for Tactical Recovery of Personnel and Aircraft, a Marine AH-1Z Viper twin-engine attack helicopter and UH-1Y Venom twin-engine utility helicopter served as escorts while the HH-60G rescued the downed pilot.
After the rescue, the rescue helicopter landed and was refueled by a Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion heavy-lift transport helicopter. This is known as a FARP, for Forward Area Refueling Point, in which one helicopter fuels another to extend the range of the tactical mission.
This capability allows for aircraft to land, refuel, rearm and return to air operations quickly in austere environments.
“The FARP exercise allows us to practice something that’s kind of non-standard for us,” said Maj. Sean Gavin, the 101st Rescue Squadron assistant operations officer. “Just another option to have overseas for flexibility, getting fuel from another rotary-wing aircraft, potentially at a remote site where otherwise, it may not be possible to accomplish the mission.
“The purpose of the training was to integrate with our joint partners,” Gavin said. “It’s not often that we get to work with helicopter rescue escorts, so it’s great to see how their capabilities and strengths can help us to execute the mission a little bit more efficiently and differently than when we work with fixed-wing platforms.”
“TRAP and escort is one of the mission sets that we train to,” said Capt. Adam Fischer, the future operations officer of HMLA Squadron 773. “I think everyone got a lot out of it, and we all got some good training, so I’m glad we were able to come out here and make it happen.”
The 106th Rescue Wing operates and maintains the HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft and the HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter.
The 106th Rescue Wing is home to a special warfare squadron with pararescue personnel and combat rescue officers specializing in rescue and recovery.