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Alaska Air National Guard Helps 3 Alaskans During 2 Missions

  • Published
  • By David Bedard,
  • 176th Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Alaska Air National Guardsmen evacuated a mother and premature baby and rescued an injured snowmachiner in two missions at remote locations across Alaska April 4-5. 

The first mission began April 4 when Norton Sound Regional Hospital officials in Nome asked the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center for help to medically evacuate the mother and premature baby from Koyuk, about 130 miles east of Nome on Norton Bay, to a higher level of medical care.

Civilian air ambulances were unable to conduct the medevac due to foul weather.

The AKRCC requested assistance from the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing, and the wing search and rescue duty officer dispatched a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk combat search and rescue helicopter and a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II CSAR fixed-wing aircraft, both with 212th Rescue Squadron Guardian Angel personnel recovery Airmen on board.

The HC-130 extended the HH-60’s range by conducting an air-to-air refuel en route to Koyuk. The HH-60 landed at the Koyuk airfield and the team boarded a waiting van for the short drive to the mother and child’s location. 

After assessing both patients and bringing them to the helicopter, the Pave Hawk crew transported them to Unalakleet about 75 miles south of Koyuk. The patients were transferred to the HC-130 and flown to JBER. From there, a ground ambulance transported them to Providence Alaska Medical Center.

On April 5, the Alaska State Troopers were asked to rescue a snowmachine rider suffering from a broken leg about 30 miles north of Talkeetna. 

Poor weather prevented civilian air ambulances from responding, so the 176th Wing dispatched an HH-60 with Guardian Angels.

The Pave Hawk crew located the snowmachiner and the Guardian Angels were lowered by hoist to assess and load him into the helicopter. He was flown to JBER and driven by ambulance to Providence.

Alaska Air National Guard Brig. Gen. Anthony Stratton, 176th Wing commander, commended the 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons for their actions.

“Once again, the Rescue Triad has demonstrated their boundless dedication to our fellow Alaskans moving long distances and through extreme weather to get to those who need help,” Stratton said. “Guardian Angels, HH-60 and HC-130 crew members, RCC mission controllers, maintainers and other 176th Wing Airmen stand alert 24/7/365 to answer the call when we’re needed most.”

For the two missions, 210th RQS, 212th RQS and the AKRCC received credit for three saves, and 211th RQS received credit for two saves.