Located in the heart of the Silicon Valley, the 129th Rescue Wing's mission is to train and prepare to perform its wartime mission of combat search and rescue anywhere in the world. The 129th has performed a wide variety of civilian search and rescue missions, including distressed persons aboard ships, lost or injured hikers, and medical evacuations.
The weapon systems that perform these missions are the MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft, the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter and the Guardian Angel pararescue system. The force multiplying capability of aerial refueling the HH-60G from the MC-130P makes these two aircraft an outstanding search and rescue team. As a result, the 129th RQW is often tasked to utilize its refueling capability to perform long-range search and rescue missions over land and water. While performing civilian search and rescue missions, 129th crews are honing their combat mission skills. Since the 129th RQW's designation as a rescue unit in 1975, Guardsmen have saved more than 1000 lives.
The federal mission of the 129th is to rapidly deploy worldwide to conduct combat search and rescue operations, over land or water, in both hostile and permissive environments. The unit has performed rescue missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations around the globe. The 129th continues its search and rescue mission anytime, anywhere, living up to the unit motto, "These Things We Do... That Others May Live."
As an Air National Guard unit, many of the 129th's missions have involved support of the Governor's office during state emergencies. The wing is the 'go to' unit due to its specialized capabilities in a wide range of environments, such as fires, floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. The 129th has often been tasked with the medical evacuation of patients from merchant vessels at sea.
The California National Guard Counterdrug Task Force conducts drug interdiction and drug demand reduction operations throughout the state in support of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations in response to the changing drug threat to reduce the demand for and supply of drugs in California. The 129th Rescue Wing's Counterdrug Task Force detachment, Team Hawk, utilizes the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter, aircrew, pararescuemen and maintainers to support local law enforcement agencies in the eradication of illegal narcotics and the cleanup of national forests environmentally damaged by marijuana production.
The professionalism and dedication of the 129th Rescue Wing personnel has not gone unrecognized. In 2009 the 129th was selected as the recipient of the Spaatz Trophy. Awarded by the National Guard Association of the United States the Spaatz Trophy is named in honor of former Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Carl A. Spaatz and is presented to the overall outstanding flying unit in the Air National Guard. The 2008 Air Force Outstanding Unit Award was granted to the 129th for meritorious service during December 2006 to November 2008. Numerous unit members have received national-level awards, recognizing the high caliber of professionals contributing to the success of the 129th Rescue Wing's lifesaving mission.