Exercises and Deployments - Soaring Angel 2014
By Rob Edgcumbe, Global Aviation Resource / Published November 26, 2014
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA --
The Air National Guard provides a key part of the USA's forces in the air with a diverse spread of units undertaking different roles. Few units match the 129th Rescue Wing for the diversity of capability they bring. This capability was recently tested with the biennial Soaring Angel exercise which Rob Edgcumbe witnessed for GAR.
The requirements of the citizen airman who serves in the Air National Guard (ANG) are often summed up by the phrase, "one weekend a month and two weeks a year". However, there is a lot more to it than that if you are involved with the complex operations of a rescue wing. In the future, GAR will be reporting in more detail on the operations of the 129th Rescue Wing. The focus here is on an exercise that the wing organises every other year.
Soaring Angel is an exercise that brings together all three squadrons within the 129th Operations Group to test the capabilities of the unit as a whole in undertaking all of the tasks the unit trains for. The 129th is unusual in the ANG in carrying out a mission that is complex and involves different asset types. Three squadrons provide the following weapons systems: the MC-130P Combat Shadow, the HH-60G Pave Hawk and the Guardian Angel weapon system, which consists of pararescuemen (PJs) and Combat Rescue Officers (CROs). This combination of equipment and capabilities allows the unit to undertake a range of tasks from assistance to civilian rescue, support to natural disasters through to combat search and rescue (CSAR) and infiltration of Special Forces.