HomeNewsArticle Display

40th Helicopter Squadron rescues missing snowmobilers


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.”


Airmen from the 34th Fighter Squadron prepare to launch F-35A Lightning lls at Mt. Home Air Force Base, Idaho, duri… https://t.co/t41oTbPGNq
“The #AirForceReserve is a cost-effective, accessible and ready force,” said Lt Gen Richard Scobee. “We provide str… https://t.co/mrPt6Xq5Vn
Here's a glimpse at the most recent Week in Photos! See the rest at: https://t.co/4L68vSVNfV https://t.co/vmIDDz5Gh6
On this day, 76 years ago, the allied powers formally accepted Nazi Germany's surrender, marking the end of the WWI… https://t.co/A9LG3D5Y2s
The Skyborg leadership team conducted a 2 hour and 10 minute flight test of the Skyborg autonomy core system, or AC… https://t.co/Gf1W4IIN0A
RT @AirNatlGuard: Airmen of the 152nd Airlift Wing's Medical Group teamed up with @NVNationalGuard Soldiers for joint aeromedical training…
.@SecAFOfficial, @GenCQBrownJr & @SpaceForceCSO testified before the @AppropsDems' Defense Appropriations Subcommit… https://t.co/wC8CE7dSYR
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary Roth testifying to the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Defense. ⬇️ https://t.co/eeXGgdqCDb
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
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
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)
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)
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Like Us
Follow Us