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Alaska Air Guardsmen rescue injured sheep hunter

By David Bedard | 176th Wing, Alaska Air National Guard | Aug. 19, 2019

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons rescued an injured sheep hunter Friday night in the Terra Cotta Mountains about three miles south of the Rohn Roadhouse Safety Cabin, an Iditarod Trail checkpoint.

According to Alaska Air National Guard Maj. Andrew Williams, Alaska Rescue Coordination Center deputy director, the mission was opened following a request for assistance from the Alaska State Troopers after the Troopers were contacted via the hunting party’s GPS satellite communication device.

The AKRCC tasked the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th, 211 and 212th Rescue Squadrons to respond.

An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter with the 210th RQS launched from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson with two 212th RQS Pararescuemen (PJs) highly trained in rescue operations.

An HC-130J Combat King II with the 211th RQS refueled the HH-60 to extend its mission range.

With the help of communications from the hunting party, crew members of the 210th RQS were able to locate the injured hunter, and the PJs extracted him and treated his injuries.

The hunter was evacuated to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage and released to medical personnel there.

Williams credited the hunting party for carrying and properly using a satellite communication device.

“That ability afforded us the opportunity to get real-time knowledge of the extent of his injuries, which expedited the extraction of the individual,” he said.

For this mission, the AKRCC, the 210th, 211th and 212th Rescue Squadrons were awarded one save.