Released: August 31, 2020
By: CPT David Bedard
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing rescued a hunter in distress Aug. 30 at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
Alaska Air National Guard Capt. Daniel Dickman, Alaska Rescue Coordination Center controller, said the hunter used a satellite communication device to signal distress. The call was relayed through a national call center to the National Park Service who requested assistance from the AKRCC.
The AKRCC notified 176th Wing who dispatched a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter and a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II, both carrying 212th Rescue Squadron pararescuemen (PJs).
Aircrew of 210th and 211th RQS are trained in day or night personnel recovery operations in challenging weather and environmental conditions. PJs of 212th RQS are highly trained search-and-rescue experts and paramedics with advanced mountaineering skills as part of their mission.
The HH-60 aircrew navigated to the hunter's location. The PJs were able to get to the hunter and use a rescue strop harness to extricate the hunter. The HH-60 twice conducted aerial refueling operations with the HC-130 during the mission.
The hunter was released to National Park Service EMTs at Slana Ranger Station in the park.
Dickman commended the hunter for carrying and properly using a satellite communication device while hunting in an area with no cell service. He cautioned hunters and hikers to be prepared for unexpected weather.
"Plan for the worst," he said. "Even if you're just going for a day hike, expect to get stuck in weather. Pack a waterproof and windproof jacket, an extra pair of pants, and a poncho or 'bivy' cover."
For this rescue, 210th RQS, 211th RQS, 212th RQS and AKRCC were awarded one save.
Army Guard Road,
JBER, AK 99505