That Others May Live... 600 So Far!
It is truly a most spectacular record... Air National Guardsmen
from the 129th Rescue Wing based rescued two Afghan National Army
soldiers in the Oruzgan Province of Afghanistan May 15th, raising
the number of lives saved by the unit from 599 to 601. Two HH-60G
Pave Hawk helicopters were scrambled to recover the Afghan soldiers
who were critically injured with gunshot wounds during battle with
Taliban forces. Suppression from U.S. Air Force fighter aircraft
was required to permit the HH-60Gs, with pararescue forces onboard,
to successfully perform the combat recovery.
While enroute to the nearest medical facility, pararescuemen
performed life-saving trauma care to stabilize the two Afghan
nationals. Pararescuemen have specialized training in advanced
cardiac life support. The patients were successfully transferred to
a field surgical team where they received advanced care for their
"It was a very challenging mission recovering two critically
wounded soldiers from a highly contested area utilizing various
tactical close-air-support assets," said Lt. Col. Daniel Lapostole,
129th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron commander. The 129th ERQS'
primary mission is to perform combat search and rescue tasks,
including personnel recovery and medical evacuation. The 129th is
the lead unit for combat search and rescue in Afghanistan.
As an Air National Guard unit, many of the 129th's 600 rescues
involved supporting the Governor's office during state emergencies,
which included earthquakes, fires and floods. Last year the unit
saved more than 35 people while performing search and rescue
operations during the Northern California wildland fires and the
Gulf Coast's Hurricane Ike. The unit also performed two long-range
over-water rescues in 2008, both more than 500 miles off the coast
"On behalf of the citizens of California, I commend the men and
women of the 129th Rescue Wing on their 600th and 601st saves,
which demonstrates their continued dedication to saving lives,"
said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"From fires and hurricanes to combat operations, no challenge is
too great for these guardsmen."
More than 65 citizen-Airmen from the Bay Area deployed to
Afghanistan in early May for two to four months to provide combat
search and rescue support for Operation Enduring Freedom.
Approximately 100 servicemembers, including three of the unit's
HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, are deploying to Afghanistan
over the course of their four-month tour.
"Our professional live-saving Airmen never cease to risk their
lives for others, whether it is a fellow citizen here in California
or a foreign national in Afghanistan," said Col. Amos Bagdasarian,
commander of the 129th Rescue Wing. "Their brave combat actions
typify our motto, 'These things we do, that others may live.'"
The unit's primary mission is to train and be prepared to
perform its wartime mission of combat search and rescue anywhere in
the world. In addition to its wartime mission, the unit also works
closely with the Coast Guard and various civil agencies on state
missions. [ANN Salutes Capt. Alyson M. Teeter, 129th Rescue Wing