A Blistering Operations Tempo

Since Sept. 1, airmen of the 66th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron at British-run Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, have saved 253 lives and assisted another 580 patients during 620 flying missions in their HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, according to unit officials. “Sometimes we may have five missions during a 12-hour alert period, with two to three of those being ‘scrambles,’ or highest priority, which means someone’s life is on the line,” said Capt. Mark Uberuaga, a pilot with the unit. Trained in combat search and rescue, these airmen’s taskings have expanded of late to include casualty evacuation. And the rescue squadron regularly works with Army, Marine, and British rescue forces responding to missions like ridgeline extractions. Still, the unit retains the constant alert status required for the demanding CSAR mission, said Maj. Joseph Alkire, 66th ERQS detachment commander. (Camp Bastion report by TSgt. Joseph Kapinos)