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40th HS saves local man

Aircrew from the 40th Helicopter Squadron begin to land at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls after a successful search and rescue March 1, 2019.

Aircrew from the 40th Helicopter Squadron begin to land at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Mont., after a successful search and rescue March 1, 2019. The crew located and rescued a missing judge Friday just south of Great Falls concluding the search by ground and air search and rescue groups that began Friday afternoon. (Courtesy photo)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. (AFNS) -- An Air Force helicopter crew located and rescued a local man March 1 just south of Great Falls, concluding the search by ground and air search and rescue groups.

The 40th Helicopter Squadron received the request around 3:30 p.m. to assist the Great Falls Police Department in finding a missing judge, dressed only in a suit, who chased after his missing dog.

A UH-1N Iroquois helicopter assigned to the squadron departed Malmstrom Air Force Base with five aircrew at approximately 4:35 p.m.

Aboard the helicopter were 40th HS pilots Capts. Nicklaus Fisher and Nicholas Cafaro; flight engineer Tech. Sgt. Guy Regina; and 341st Medical Group flight surgeons Maj. Andrew Timboe and Capt. Jackson Prestwood.

After the aircrew located a trail of footprints leading toward the Missouri River, the team followed the path and eventually located the man 20 minutes later.

“Due to snow on the ground causing white-out conditions on an attempted landing, the crew hoisted down the flight surgeon to assess, prep and aid the judge in extraction via the hoist,” Lt. Col. Bryan Tuinman, 40th HS commander said.

The weather was wearing on the man who was beginning to suffer from cold exposure and what appeared to be hypothermia.

The aircrew quickly and safely hoisted the man inside the aircraft and began aiding him in his recovery while transporting him to the local hospital where he was turned over to hospital staff.

“The combined efforts of the 341st Missile Wing and the 582nd Helicopter Group rescued a leading member of the Great Falls community today,” Tuinman said.

The 40th HS also praised the coordination between all local and base agencies involved in supporting the rescue to include the Great Falls Police Department, Cascade Sheriff’s Office, the base command post, the 341st Civil Engineer Squadron for clearing snow and ice from the helicopter pads in unprecedented time, the 341st Medical Group for their professional flight surgeons and the 341st Operations Support Squadron weather flight for providing an immediate weather and safety update.

“This is a great story of teamwork, coordination and dedication to our local community from all of us at Malmstrom (AFB),” said Col. Jennifer Reeves, 341st Missile Wing commander. “I am proud of all of our Airmen here at the wing for getting after our mission every day and continuing to support our great community.”

The 40th Helicopter Squadron ensures strategic security by providing flexible, rapid-response helicopter airlift support to the 341st Missile Wing. The 40th HS also performs aerial surveillance of Department of Defense strategic weapon convoys and short notice emergency security forces responses; supports emergency war order taskings, priority personnel and logistical transportation.

The 40th Helicopter Squadron has a proud rescue history and currently conducts search and rescue missions in support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff National Search and Rescue plan.




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