An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | June 24, 2024

106th Rescue Wing Receives New Search and Rescue Helicopter

By Senior Airman Sarah McKernan, 106th Rescue Wing

WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. - The 106th Rescue Wing’s first HH-60W Jolly Green II search and rescue helicopter touched down at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base June 20.

Col. Shawn Fitzgerald, the 106th Rescue Wing commander, said the arrival of the new helicopter marks the beginning of a new era as the 106th transitions from the HH-60G Pave Hawk to the latest rescue helicopter.

Lt. Col. Matthew Forbes, the 101st Rescue Squadron commander, said the current “Golf” models have served the wing since 1990.

“We are very excited all around and I am so happy to be a part of it and see it happen,” Fitzgerald said.

The crew that ferried the aircraft from Moody Air Force Base in Georgia to Gabreski included two HH-60W instructor pilots, a special missions aviator, and two HH-60 crew chiefs from the 106th Rescue Wing.

Master Sgt. Jordan Butler, an HH-60 crew chief, said the 106th crew chiefs met with their maintenance counterparts at Moody and thoroughly checked the aircraft before heading to Gabreski. 

“It’s awesome being a part of the team to bring our first ‘Whiskey’ home; knowing that it’s the first of a new era for the wing is exciting,” said Butler. “It’s difficult to go from something that you’ve worked on for 12 years, but a lot of the aircraft is similar, so learning the subtleties and nuances is going to be challenging, but I’m excited to begin the transition.” 

According to Forbes, maintainers from the 106th have already begun their qualifications training, with the first two aircrew members receiving their qualifications.

“I’m excited to have the opportunity to work on the new airframe,” said Senior Airman Ryan Brandon, an HH-60 crew chief. “I’m looking forward to the upcoming challenges as we learn to work and maintain these aircraft.”

Forbes said the HH-60W features improved turn performance, increased hover-at-altitude capabilities, larger cabin space, and an internal fuel system.

“From a pilot’s perspective, the biggest difference is the avionics package,” said Forbes.

“You’re going from a federated cockpit to a fully integrated cockpit. There are a lot of upgrades that make us more survivable in major combat operations,” he said.

According to the Lockheed Martin website, the upgraded HH-60W avionics suite includes an integrated mission system with fully integrated cockpit and cabin displays. Weapons are mounted externally for increased cabin space and cabin and cockpit armor is improved.

With over-the-horizon tactical data receivers, the aircraft receives near real-time mission and threat update information.

“It’s an exciting time to be at the unit and get to see and work with the newest available combat search and rescue helicopter,” Forbes said.

The 106th will fully transition to the new model by June 2025, when the base receives its sixth HH-60W.

The 106th Rescue Wing, based at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, operates and maintains the HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft and the HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter. The 106th Rescue Wing is home to a special warfare squadron with pararescuemen and combat rescue officers, specializing in rescue and recovery, and deploys for domestic and overseas operations.



Related Articles
Staff Sgt. Skyler Buyce, a loadmaster with the 109th Airlift Wing, conducts post-flight checks in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, on May 13, 2024.
New York’s 109th Airlift Wing Begins 2024 Greenland Missions
By Tech. Sgt. Madison Scaringe, | May 28, 2024
STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. - Four LC-130 “Skibirds” and about 75 Airmen from the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing began the annual Greenland season supporting the National Science Foundation.The...

A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 109th Airlift Wing, part of the New York Air National Guard, flies over East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare Operator (SEALs), Norwegian Naval Special Operations Commandos and the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hampton (SSN 767) during an integration exercise designed to bolster skills in an Arctic environment March 9, 2024, as part of Arctic Edge 24.
New York Air Guard Transports Special Operations Forces
By Tech. Sgt. Madison Scaringe, | May 15, 2024
STRATTON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.Y. - Forty-six Airmen from the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing participated in Arctic Edge 24, a U.S. Northern Command-led homeland defense exercise demonstrating the...

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Colin Kistner is presented with the 174th Attack Wing Diamond Sharp Award by Master Sgt. Robert Hood, first sergeant of the 174th Operations Support Squadron, March 8, 2024, at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, New York.
New York Air Guard Members Recognized for Lifesaving Actions
By Maj. Suzanne Jedrosko, | April 11, 2024
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - New York Air National Guard Staff Sgts. Colin Kistner and Miguel Rodriguez Peraza were honored for reviving a heart attack victim.Kistner was awarded the Air and Space Commendation Medal and Rodriguez Peraza...