Braving high winds and rugged terrain, an HH-60 crew with Air Force Reserve Command’s 943rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., helped save a badly injured hiker. Using night-vision equipment, they maneuvered their Pave Hawk helicopter within the jagged topography of the Pusch Ridge, located in Coronado National Forest, north of Tucson. They then lowered a pararescueman from Davis-Monthan’s active duty 48th Rescue Squadron to secure the stranded 23-year-old woman, who had lain for almost five hours with back injuries and a broken leg. After safely bringing her aboard the helicopter, these airmen transported her to a nearby hospital during the Dec. 23 rescue. Civilian helicopter crews had to abort earlier rescue attempts due to the winds and terrain’s steepness. “An Air Force rescue helicopter and night-vision-goggle-equipped crew made all the difference,” said Col. Harold Maxwell, the group’s commander. (Davis-Monthan report by Capt. Cathleen Snow)
After a long period in which munitions were almost an afterthought and sacrificed to pay for other priorities, the Air Force needs to focus on them in order to have the right “package” of capabilities for future conflicts, Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said June 7.