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NEWS | Aug. 27, 2019

106th Rescue Wing gives tour to Scout troop after tragedy

By Airman 1st Class Daniel Farrell New York National Guard

WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. – Members of Boy Scout Troop 161 were welcomed last Friday to the 106th Rescue Wing's base in a show of support after the loss of one of their scouts, Andrew McMorris, 12.

Andrew was killed by an alleged drunk driver last September during a scout hiking event.

"Members of our team here on base are tied closely to Troop 161, and our thoughts, prayers and well wishes have been, and continue to be, with this troop and these youngsters as they move forward from this tragedy," said Capt. Michael O'Hagan, 106th Rescue Wing public affairs officer.

"It is always great when we have a chance to interact with scouts, but this tour in particular was especially meaningful because of the connection to members of our wing and the loss of Andrew." 

On the flight line, the scouts were met by Capt. Jonathan Hoyos, a 102nd Rescue Squadron combat systems officer and 1st Lt. Kate Adamczyk, 102nd Rescue Squadron pilot, who gave them a tour of the wing's new HC-130J Combat King II aircraft and answered all their questions. 

The scouts' next stop was the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter where they met Maj. Damon Ricketts and 1st Lt. Jordan Polster, both 101st Rescue Squadron helicopter pilots.

The scouts, whose troop is in Shoreham, New York, climbed in and out of the helicopter while the pilots pointed out some interesting characteristics of the aircraft and talked about their experiences operating helicopters.

The tour concluded with a first aid demonstration by Lt. Col. Stephen "Doc" Rush, a 103rd Rescue Squadron pararescue flight surgeon and former Air Force pararescue medical director, who showed them skills like bleeding control, airway management and patient movement.

The scouts surrounded Rush and looked on as he went through the variety of tactics, even using one of their members to act as a patient. 

"This was a great opportunity to share our expertise in first aid from the highest levels with the Boy Scouts," said Rush. "It was inspiring to see their enthusiasm and passion."

Colin Lynch, a member of Troop 161, left the tour telling a reporter he was happy to be on the base and that he can see himself being a helicopter pilot, but he didn't know which branch just yet. 

A nearby member of 106th Public Affairs was quick to joke, "By which branch, you mean, you want to come fly for the Guard, right?"

At 16, Colin has a few more years to finalize his decision.

Trial for the accused drunk driver is set to begin in September.