Hectic SAR in Afghanistan

Since forming in October 2009, the 160 active duty and reserve airmen who currently make up the 66th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron have flown 1,103 hours, generated 1,252 sorties, aided in saving 195 lives, and logged 462 assists. The airmen—flight crews, pararescue jumpers, and mechanics—who deployed from Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Washington and are stationed at Camp Bastion and Kandahar Airfield, have found that more than 66 percent of the evacuation calls they receive come from the Afghan National Army, National Police, or Afghan civilians. “We don’t care who we have to pick up; we show the same dedication and duty,” said Maj. Vic Pereira, 66th ERQS director of operations. The unit routinely gets its HH-60G Pave Hawks into the air well under its 15-minute goal, largely assisted by the unit mechanics that spend more than 50 hours per week to keep the helicopters flying. (Kandahar report by TSgt. Oshawn Jefferson)