129th Rescue Wing 2010 Year in Review
By Capt. Alyson M. Teeter , 129th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 08, 2011
MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- Continuing its tradition of excellence, members of the 129th Rescue Wing saved lives at home and around the globe. As one of three Air National Guard rescue wings nationwide, the military and the state of California depend on the unique capabilities of the HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter, the MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft and highly trained pararescuemen.
From the high seas of the Pacific to the mountains of Afghanistan, 129th rescuers demonstrated their creed, "That others may live." In April and June, approximately 30 PJs and support personnel deployed to Afghanistan where they helped provide time critical lifesaving medical attention to both military personnel and Afghan citizens. 129th deployers consistently go above and beyond and put themselves in harms way to save others.
During deployments abroad the unit is also capable of saving lives here in California. In April 129th personnel successfully completed an intense four-day rescue mission approximately 650 miles off the coast of Baja, Calif. The 129th sent two HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters and an MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft, accompanied by one Marine Corps KC-130J Super Hercules tanker from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, to pick up a 56-year-old sailor who suffered life-threatening head and neck injuries aboard his sailing vessel Wind Child. Four PJs provided life saving medical aid while awaiting the arrival of the 129th aircraft.
In February the 129th assisted the Calaveras County Sheriff's office in the search of a snowshoer who went missing near Camp Connell, Calif. The Airmen, in conjunction with a ground search party, eventually spotted and picked up the snowshoer in mountainous terrain that was socked in with dense fog. But this mission was truly exceptional because it occurred during an intensive Unit Compliance Inspection.
"Even while our Airmen were in the midst of a higher headquarters inspection, rescue crews quickly launched a mission," said Col. Amos Bagdasarian, 129th Rescue Wing Commander. "This is a testament to our outstanding training and dedication to our life saving mission." During the course of the inspection, 55 Air Combat Command Inspector General team members met with unit personnel to discuss how their areas operate. Critical compliance objectives, or key areas for mission success, were looked at and graded on a "complies," "complies with comments" or "does not comply" scale. According to the UCI report, 91% of the wing's critical compliance objectives were in compliance.
The unit continued to honor the dedicated service of its Airmen and their families through the rigor of deployments, inspections, and everything in between. More than 100 Airmen and their families were honored at the Hometown Heroes Salute Award Ceremony at Moffett in August. Recognized in this ceremony were Guardsmen who have deployed in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle and other peacekeeping operations across the globe since Sept. 11, 2001.
"Without the support from families, the mission at home and abroad would be impossible to accomplish, and I wholeheartedly thank them for their support and sacrifice," Colonel Bagdasarian said.
The future is looking bright for the 129th Rescue Wing. The hard charging efforts of the wing's recruiting office created astonishing results this year: the 129th had the most accessions for all Air Guard units in the nation for Fiscal Year 2010, increasing the unit strength from 88% to 93%. This is an exciting development for the wing, the state and nation because it enhances the wing's ability to adapt, respond, and save lives when called upon.