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Elevated heliport certified for use by the 129th Rescue Wing

An HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 129th Rescue Wing, Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif. lands at the new helipad at the San Jose Regional Medical Center on June 9, 2008.  The pad has been constructed to withstand the weight of the Pave Hawk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Hughan)

An HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 129th Rescue Wing, Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif. lands on the new heliport at the Regional Medical Center of San Jose June 9, 2008. The heliport was constructed to withstand the weight of the Pave Hawk. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Hughan)(RELEASED)

An HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 129th Rescue Wing, Moffett Federal Airfield, California hovers at the new helipad at the San Jose Regional Medical Center on June 9, 2008.  The pad has been constructed to withstand the weight of the Pave Hawk. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Hughan)

An HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 129th Rescue Wing, Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif. lands on the new heliport at the Regional Medical Center of San Jose June 9, 2008. The heliport was constructed to withstand the weight of the Pave Hawk. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Hughan)(RELEASED)

Capt Dave Weidman, an HH-60G Pave Hawk pilot from the 129th Rescue Wing, Moffett Field, California is interviewed byt KTVU Channel 2 reporter Robert Handa about the advantages to having a new helipad available in San Jose Regional Medical Hospital (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Hughan)

Capt. Dave Weidman, an HH-60G Pave Hawk pilot from the 129th Rescue Wing is interviewed byt KTVU Channel 2 reporter Robert Handa about the advantages of having a new heliport available at the Regional Medical Center of San Jose. (Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew Hughan)(RELEASED)

MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- While patients, nurses, doctors and construction workers stared in awe, an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 129th Rescue Wing landed at the Regional Medical Center of San Jose June 9.

This Pave Hawk wasn't landing at the hospital for a rescue mission. It was the unit's maiden landing on a heliport that is the first in the Bay Area to be certified for use by the 129th RQW.

The Regional Medical Center recently completed construction of the large metallic elevated structure. The hospital partnered with the 129th RQW, nonprofit air ambulance CALSTAR and the U.S. Coast Guard to open up the heliport for business.

Community members and hospital staff were invited to take part in the opening festivities and become acquainted with the various rescue aircraft. Aircrew members and pararescuemen answered questions and talked about their search and rescue duties.

In the past, patients rescued by the 129th RQW were transported via ambulance from Moffett Federal Airfield to area hospitals. Landings also occurred on a Stanford University campus soccer field, where ambulances would then transport patients to the Stanford University Medical Center.

Regional's heliport will increase the unit's ability to obtain expeditious care for rescued persons, said Capt. David Weidman, 129th Rescue Squadron HH-60 pilot.

The Regional Medical Center's heliport not only gives the wing an additional conduit for saving lives during typical search and rescue missions, but also for rescues in response to disasters. As an Air National Guard unit, many of the 129th's past missions involved supporting the Governor's office during state emergencies, which included earthquakes, chemical spills, fires and floods.