Long-time Shuttle Support

The New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing conducted its 100th mission supporting the launch of space shuttles when NASA launched Atlantis May 11 from Cape Canaveral in Florida for its mission to refurbish the Hubble Space Telescope. An HC-130 from the 106th RQW stood ready at Patrick Air Force Base as another orbited the coast—each with a number of pararescue jumpers aboard just in case the launch went awry and the PJs had to rescue the shuttle crew from the Atlantic Ocean. At the same time, other 106th RQW airmen and HC-130s deployed to Ramstein AB, Germany, to pick up members of the 1st Combat Communications Squadron, and then on to Spain, their contingency location for a shuttle emergency. The 1st CCS airmen enable the Air Guardsmen to stay in contact with the Kennedy Space Center and Joint Personnel Recovery Center in Florida to keep the aircrew in the right location for a rescue. The New York Air Guardsmen have performed this shuttle rescue service since 1988. (100th mission report by MSgt Corine Lombardo; Ramstein report by TSgt. Michael Voss)