HomeNewsArticle Display

Airmen, Soldiers build partnership for life-saving mission in Afghanistan

Joint Personnel Recovery Training in Afghanistan

Capt. John Conner, an Air Force combat rescue officer from the 64th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, flies with an Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew over Kandahar, Afghanistan, during joint training April 5, 2019. The rescue Airmen and Soldiers work and train together regularly to be prepared to save lives across the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Anna-Marie Wyant)

Joint Personnel Recovery Training in Afghanistan

An Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew prepares to hoist Air Force pararescuemen from the 64th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron during joint training at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, April 5, 2019. The rescue Airmen and Soldiers work and train together regularly to be prepared to save lives across the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Anna-Marie Wyant)

Joint Personnel Recovery Training in Afghanistan

An Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew prepares to hoist Air Force pararescuemen from the 64th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron during joint training at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan April 5, 2019. The rescue Airmen and Soldiers work and train together regularly to be prepared to save lives across the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Anna-Marie Wyant)

Joint Personnel Recovery Training in Afghanistan

Army National Guardsmen and Air Force pararescuemen from the 64th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron fly in a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter over Kandahar, Afghanistan, during joint training April 5, 2019. The rescue Airmen and Soldiers work and train together regularly to be prepared to save lives across the region. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Anna-Marie Wyant)

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) --

Rescue Airmen from the 64th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron and Army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crews from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation have developed a strong partnership over the last several months to enable an essential military mission: personnel recovery. The Airmen and Soldiers work and train together regularly at Kandahar Airfield to ensure they are always ready to save lives when the time comes.

The Soldiers and Airmen work side-by-side to execute the personnel recovery mission in Southwestern Afghanistan, standing ready to rescue, recover and return joint and coalition forces in times of danger or extreme duress.

“Our partnership with the Army is vital to the success of our mission,” said Capt. John Conner, 64th ERQS combat rescue officer and team commander. “These relationships we develop with our Army aircrews creates the foundational framework that everything else builds upon. It instills confidence and competence in each other’s capabilities through repetitious training, which ultimately develops trust.”

Conner said that trust is essential to smooth operations, as they often face uncertain circumstances, split-second decisions and life-or-death consequences. He said their positive joint partnership is a result of shared respect for each other and dedication to the mission.

“They have the tenacity and desire to make a difference in the mission they support.” Conner said. “Ultimately, our partnership reinstalls the pride I have in our military because regardless of what branch you represent, everyone works hard to make a difference for the mission and the people.”

While these Airmen typically work and train with HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters, specifically outfitted for rescue, Conner said the Army’s Blackhawks bring some unique capabilities to support the pararescue mission, including the ability to travel farther and at higher altitudes, plus additional space for more personnel.

The trust and respect is mutual, and the relationship is symbiotic, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brian Coleman, pilot-in-command and an air mission commander for the 1-171st GSAB personnel recovery detachment. Part of the team-building process was learning the expertise each side brings to the mission.

“We constantly engage in each other's specialties to grasp the full concept of being a team,” Coleman said. “The Air Force takes every opportunity to learn our capabilities of our aircraft and operating procedures. We go through combat maneuvering, gunnery and rescue hoist training frequently to find areas in which we both can improve and find a common ground between our two branches.”

This partnership not only embodies the joint force concept, but also the total force: the Airmen are active duty, while the Soldiers are primarily Army National Guardsmen. Coleman, who has worked with the Air Force for medical evacuation during three previous deployments, said this experience has been one of the best for him.

“This current deployment with the pararescue squadron has been phenomenal,” Coleman said. “I have never seen a more well-rounded group on a deployment than the Air Force personnel I get to work with.”

The terrain and climate in Afghanistan pose some challenges, but the helicopter crews continually train to adapt. Although the job can be stressful, demanding and dangerous, Coleman said he enjoys the camaraderie and loves being part of the personnel recovery mission.

“I love having the opportunity to come to work, get into our helicopter and fly with Soldiers and Airmen who want to be in that aircraft just as much as I do,” Coleman said. “I like to think that when we all want the same thing it can help strengthen the bond we have built together as a joint team for those who follow after we are long gone.”

Pararescuemen are the only Department of Defense combat forces specifically organized, trained, equipped and postured to conduct full spectrum personnel recovery including conventional and unconventional combat rescue operations. These highly trained and versatile personnel recovery specialists are capable of executing the most perilous, demanding and extreme rescue missions across the globe.

The 64th ERQS is part of the 455th Air ExpeditionaryWing headquartered at Bagram Airfield. The wing’s mission is to defend Afghanistan’s two busiest airfields, support joint partners and deliver decisive airpower throughout the region in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and the NATO Resolute Support mission.

Engage

Twitter
.@POTUS to #Airmen during his visit to @RAFMildenhall: "You’re the best of our country. Less than 1% of Americans… https://t.co/VlmUkvizpY
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: High energy lasers kill one target at a time, & high powered microwaves can kill groups or swarms, which is one reason that TH…
Twitter
Check out the latest #AirForce Week in Photos! Which one is your favorite? See the rest at https://t.co/PUTukgX3Qe https://t.co/bWyy06fZ3k
Twitter
RT @AFGlobalStrike: 10 cadets and midshipmen from the @WestPoint_USMA, the @NavalAcademy and the @AF_Academy visited @90thMissileWing as pa…
Twitter
#ABMS will deliver decision superiority to the @usairforce & @SpaceForceDoD. This is all-domain command and contr… https://t.co/52J0YQEQhn
Twitter
The 2-week training will focus on @GenCQBrownJr's #AccelerateChange Action Order C: Competition by dissecting the g… https://t.co/J97obvYz10
Twitter
Building on women’s hair updates announced in February 2021, beginning June 25 when hair is secured behind the head… https://t.co/kjocdaU8Co
Twitter
“When you look at the numbers, 500,000 is a lot of [#COVID19] vaccinations. That reflects every #Soldier and… https://t.co/0hDKneUwUU
Twitter
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center is sponsoring a research project with the @WitchitaState's National Inst… https://t.co/r1SZzmLUGo
Twitter
.@NellisAFB recently hosted an #AirForce Weapons School Integration exercise that taught graduate-level instructor… https://t.co/sdRcG9Tqle
Twitter
Industry and government operators, engineers, and test professionals assessed the ability to do medical evacuation,… https://t.co/GosqQbx3Ac
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: As part of the @UTNationalGuard's state partnership with Morocco, @UtahAirGuard Airmen are taking part in African Lion 21…
Twitter
“This office is the first organization that will stand-up from an enterprise-wide perspective to address digital ne… https://t.co/94P7CNFxGj
Twitter
"Multi-capable #Airmen is a series of training events designed to engage Airmen in developing a combat skillset out… https://t.co/7b4VFMb9cm
Twitter
"I'm probably not the first to be qualified, but the first to have the opportunity." @GenCQBrownJr sat down with… https://t.co/vh14QdB6sp
Twitter
#CitizenAirmen from the 30th Aerial Port Squadron & @AFRC_433, loaded supplies onto a C-5 Galaxy, to deliver suppli… https://t.co/MDSVEtQbZm
Twitter
.@59_MDW medics assisted a hospital in #Honduras during Exercise Resolute Sentinel 21, where they performed life-ch… https://t.co/DRGyg4NOhL
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: A/SecAF Roth at today's SAC-D hearing: "Our nation’s competitive strategic advantage relies on air and space superiority…
Twitter
To maintain open lines of communication with #AirForce allies and African partners, CMSgt Brion Blais, @HQUSAFEAFAFhttps://t.co/4nGOtWJnLp
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,346,406
Follow Us