HomeNewsArticle Display

40th Helicopter Squadron rescues missing snowmobilers

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. (AFNS) --

A UH-1N Iroquois with a five-man aircrew rescued two missing snowmobilers south of the town of Neihart, Jan. 29.

The crew responded to King’s Hill, a local recreation site, to locate and retrieve the snowmobilers who were reported missing after the 341st Missile Wing command post received the distress call.

The Cascade County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance in locating a 75-year-old and a 71-year-old, with known medical conditions, who became lost during a snowmobiling trip.

The 40th Helicopter Squadron then dispatched pilots, Maj. Nicholas Morris and Maj. Derek Winkler; flight engineers Master Sgt. Joe Cox and Tech. Sgt. Drew Lambert; and 341st Medical Group medical technician, Staff Sgt. Tim Rohlfing.

Once in the air, the crew’s goal was to search for, and if necessary, recover the missing snowmobilers from the Little Belt Mountains, a segment of the northern Rocky Mountains.

“Weather was good on base, but in the mountains, the mountain-tops were obscured by clouds,” said Maj. Jeffrey Miser, 40th HS assistant director of operations. “At high altitudes, the clouds were a factor.”

While the temperature was above freezing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana,UH-1N helicopter the search area was almost 10 degrees colder.

Once the helicopter crew arrived at the Little Belt Mountains, they met with CCSO and Meahger County sheriffs at the snowmobile trailhead.

The crew picked up trail-groomer personnel, as they were most knowledgeable of the mountain’s terrain, and followed the trails by air in an attempt to locate the missing snowmobilers.

As the trails elevated, the terrain became more and more engulfed by clouds, causing the helicopter crew to divert from the search route.

To combat the low visibility, the aircraft searched below cloud level and followed different water drainages to reach higher altitude as they climbed the mountain.

“The ground search team eventually located the lost snowmobilers - who were in good health – and moved them to lower terrain,” Miser said. “The ground team then heard the helicopter and vectored the crew to the survivors’ location.”

Upon locating each other, the helicopter crew returned the trail groomer personnel to the staging area before resuming recovery of the snowmobilers.

Then, a hoist was used to lower Rohlfing to the survivors to conduct an initial medical assessment: the couple was in good health despite staying overnight in deep snow.

With a combined effort of the multiple state and federal agencies, the 40th HS found and transported the snowmobilers to emergency medical personnel for further medical assistance.

“Outstanding job by the 40th HS and the 341st MDG,” said Chief Master Sgt. Ron Harper, 341st MW command chief. “We are extremely proud of our highly-trained personnel with their ability to render aid and provide expedient service to those in need.”

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

The 40th HS 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.

“We’re thrilled to be good neighbors to our community,” said Col. Jennifer Reeves, 341st MW commander. “We are so proud of the men and women of the 40th HS and the 341st MDG who gladly put their lives on the line to facilitate the rescue of our fellow Montanans.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: Training and repetition is key to being #AlwaysReady Exercises like #SouthernStrike2020 allow our Airmen to work with tot…
Over 100 aircraft are flying over the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the Federated States of Micr… https://t.co/XwsxbIXET9
RT @PACAF: Gen. CQ Brown Jr. met w/ allies & partners from across the Indo-Pacific & beyond @SGAirshow to showcase U.S. commitment & discus…
Good luck to all the drivers in today's #Daytona500, but we may be a bit biased on who we want to win it all.… https://t.co/PDLqBdl39X
Thanks for a great game @LAKings and @Avalanche. #ICYMI the @NHL Stadium series made a stop at the @AF_academy las… https://t.co/VyNsvpQM6o
RT @Creech_AFB: Singapore Airshow has been flying by (🥁-tss) meeting with international friends & partners! Repub. of Singapore Air Force…
Our own TSgt Nalani Quintello, vocalist with @USAFBand Max Impact, will perform the National Anthem prior to the 62… https://t.co/Asf5dTlXU8
RT @SecAFOfficial: Valuable hands-on experience @RAFMildenhall! Grateful to meet innovative #Airmen executing complex missions around the w…
RT @USAFCENT: COMBAT SEARCH AND RECOVERY | Recently USAF HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters refueled over the Arabian Gulf from a U.S. Air Force…
RT @AETCommand: It takes a ton of people to ensure our aircraft get in the air so we can train @usairforce pilots to fly, fight & win! Che…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Humbled each day to serve in the same @usairforce Brig Gen Charles McGee paved the way for. He is a genuine #American
The @AFThunderbirds will be flying over ✈️ the #DAYTONA500 🏎️ this Sunday. https://t.co/iTN0qtu0e0
RT @USAFReserve: Beating Bad Weather: Command announces indoor alternative to physical fitness assessment - https://t.co/cP93Ijrbtw #Reserv
A U.S. Air Force AC-130J Ghostrider taxis on a flightline as a French Air Force C-130 lands at Alpena Combat Readin… https://t.co/hNTIhvJYvD
Don't miss the @NHL, @LAKings vs @Avalanche playing at the @AF_Academy this Saturday at 6 P.M. MST. Good luck to bo… https://t.co/KF9WqHlqaS
Happy Valentine's Day! https://t.co/ITdKRQ8Pm8
The first senior enlisted advisor for the U.S. Space Force has been named. Roger A. Towberman, welcome to the team! https://t.co/R8Fr98q4Jn
RT @AFGlobalStrike: Feb. has been a busy month for AFGSC, with a Bomber Task Force mission to the Indo-Pacific Theater & last week's unarme…
RT @AF_Academy: ❄️ Check out this timelapse of the @NHL transforming Falcon Stadium from football to an outdoor ice arena primed for Saturd…