Alaska Air Guardsmen rescue three stranded near glacier
By Tech. Sgt. N. Alicia Halla, 176th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 31, 2016
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AFNS) -- Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons saved three individuals near the Marcus Baker Glacier on the night of March 29.
According to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, the individuals were scouting a landing area in a Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser, but could not take off again because something broke on the aircraft.
The pilot and passengers were uninjured. However, they were equipped with a spot beacon and one sleeping bag for survival gear, according to the Alaska RCC.
They weren’t as prepared as they needed to be for the weather at that altitude, according to Capt. John Romspert, a member of the Alaska RCC.
Upon notification by the Alaska State Troopers, Air National Guard assets were requested for the mission, including an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter from the 210th RQS and an HC-130 King from the 211th RQS. The HH-60 took a two-man Guardian Angel team, and one Guardian Angel was on board the HC-130.
Guardian Angel teams are highly trained medical personnel made of pararescuemen and/or combat rescue officers who specialize in conducting high-risk rescue missions.
Due to the altitude of the glacier, the HH-60 pilot needed as little weight, including fuel, as possible. The rescue crew picked up the individuals and refueled in-air on the way to the Palmer airport, where they were released to the Alaska State Troopers.
For this mission, the 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were awarded with three saves.