Alaska Pararescuemen Show Mettle During Deployment

Members of the Alaska Air National Guard’s 212th Rescue Squadron at Camp Denali are credited with saving 107 lives during an eight-month deployment to Afghanistan. “Just about everybody in the unit had the chance to deploy, and they represented the Alaska Air National Guard very well,” said Maj. Joe Conroy, 212th RQS director of operations. Its Guardsmen supported the deployment, which concluded in May, in two- to four-month intervals. During their time at Bagram Airfield, the Air Guardsmen spent their time transferring patients between medical facilities and engaged in sometimes-harrowing combat rescue missions. On one particular occasion on April 23, five of the unit’s pararescuemen—Maj. Jesse Peterson, TSgt. Shane Hargis, TSgt. Chris Uriarte, SSgt. Bill Cenna, and SSgt. Zachary Kline—retrieved an Army aviator and his fallen comrade in the face of heavy enemy fire. (Camp Denali report by Maj. Guy Hayes)