Bay Area Air National Guard Unit Rescues U.S. Navy Contractor over Pacific Ocean
By 1st Lt. Roderick B. Bersamina, 129th Rescue Wing
/ Published November 14, 2016
Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif. -- Late Saturday evening the California Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing (RQW) completed its 1,013th save since 1977, conducting a long-distance rescue mission over the Pacific Ocean. The mission resulted in saving the life of a seriously ill 63-year-old civilian contractor on board the USS Guadalupe, a U.S. Navy vessel.
"The 129th Rescue Wing's bottom line is the Air Force rescue community's motto: That others may live," said Col. Taft Aujero, 129th Rescue Wing Commander. "Our more than 1,000 saves both at home and abroad speaks to the extraordinary talent of our members. I could not be prouder of them and their accomplishments."
The USS Guadalupe was approximately 560 miles off the California coast when the U.S. Coast Guard requested Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) assistance.
"Due to the distance of the vessel and no local assets in the area, we reached out to the 129th Rescue Wing for assistance," said Lt. Kayla Abruzzese, 11th Coast Guard District watchstander. "Through the coordination efforts, we were able to get the person in distress to higher medical care."
With AFRCC and U.S. Coast Guard coordination, the 129th RQW launched two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, an MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft and a Guardian Angel pararescue team from Moffett Federal Airfield around 11 a.m. to the USS Guadalupe. Once the Guardian Angel Team boarded the ship, they stabilized the patient before loading him into an HH-60G that departed back to Moffett Air National Guard Base (ANGB). The Guardian Angel team continued to provide enroute care for the civilian patient during the 4 hour return flight. An ambulance met the contractor at Moffett ANGB and immediately transported him to a local hospital.
The 129th Rescue Wing is credited with saving the lives of more than 1,000 people. The Wing conducts combat search and rescue missions, as well as the rescue of distressed persons on board ships, lost or injured hikers, and medical evacuations across the West Coast.