Arriving first on the scene to begin rescue operations on Mt. Hood in Oregon were nine pararescuemen and three combat rescue officers from Air Force Reserve Command’s 304th Rescue Squadron at Portland, Ore., according to a Pentagon release. They conducted ground searches from Dec. 11-14, when severe weather stopped work on the mountain, but left one airman in place to guide a Nevada Air National Guard C-130 from the Reno’s 152nd Airlift Wing—the only USAF unit equipped with “scathe view” technology, which captures real-time ground imagery. As we reported yesterday, one Reservist flew with the Air Guard. Oregon Army National Guard helicopters joined the effort on Dec. 15. Various news reports on Tuesday indicated that chances of finding the remaining two hikers alive seemed bleak and more bad weather was on the way.
While some of the Air Force's newly announced changes will happen quickly, it may take most of Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin's tenure in the job to accomplish the rest, he said in a Brookings Institution event Feb. 28.