PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (FOX 35) -
The Patrick Air Force Base says that a group of about 140 Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing were deployed to Georgia to exercise their hurricane relief capabilities. If the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or Air Combat Command gives the order to provide disaster relief following Hurricane Florence's devastating effects to the east coast, the 920th will be ready to help.
“We train constantly for situations like this. Our Airmen our highly specialized and have the ability to utilize their expert combat life-saving skills and aircraft to provide relief and rescue,’ said Col. Kurt Matthews, 920 RQW commander, who flew disaster relief missions during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 which led to 1,043 lives saved.
Last September, Patrick Air Force Base says that the wing deployed to Texas and flew disaster relief missions in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. They saved 235 people, 21 dogs, and 5 cats.
On Wednesday, Wing Airmen launched four HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and two combat-search-and-rescue King HC-130P/N aerial refueling aircraft to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia to train for relief operations, confirmed the Patrick Air Force Base. A C-17 Globemaster transported the rest of the rescue equipment and personnel from Patrick to Moody AFB on Thursday.
The Patrick Air Force Base says that the rescue team includes combat-rescue aircrew, maintenance and support personnel, as well as Guardian Angel Rescue Teams consisting of pararescuemen, combat rescue officers and a survival evasion resistance escape specialists, or SERE specialists. Among their proficiencies include trauma medicine, swiftwater rescue and nighttime hoist operations which will allow the team to operate a 24-hour operation.
“Its times like these we can't thank the civilian employers of our Reservists enough for the sacrifices they make to allow Reserve Citizen Airmen time off to support potential crisis situations. Air Force Reservists and their civilian employers are integral part of our national defense,” said Matthews.