Patrick AFB Deploys Rescue Crews to Middle East, Africa

Reserve airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing load an aircraft full of equipment and gear with the help of airmen from various units throughout the Air Force, on Sept. 28, 2019, at Patrick AFB, Fla. Courtesy photo via USAF.

More than 100 Reserve airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, Fla., recently deployed to support combat search and rescue missions in the Middle East and Africa.

Two squadrons, along with maintenance and support staff, needed to simultaneously move from the wing to separate locations, which overwhelmed Patrick’s 920th Logistics Readiness Squadron, according to an Oct. 3 Patrick release. So they called in help from other units, including personnel from Moody AFB, Ga.; March ARB, Calif.; and NAS JRB Fort Worth, Texas, to move about 80,000 pounds of equipment, gear, and personnel on a C-5 and civilian aircraft over about two weeks.

“This was a huge joint effort,” Maj. Rachael Lagerquist, 920th Logistics Readiness Squadron Commander, said in the release. “We maximized the specialties and personnel available to us, then we brought in augmentees to help get us spun up and out the door.”

Three HH-60G Pave Hawks from the wing deployed before their operators. The deployment mainly consists of “Guardian Angels”—combat rescue officers, pararescuemen, survival, evasion, resistance, and escape specialists, and personnel recovery experts—from the 308th Rescue Squadron and Pave Hawk crews from the 301st Rescue Squadron, plus maintainers from the 920th Maintenance Squadron and 920th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. They are supported by wing staff, operations support and logistics airmen, and communications specialists.

“It’s a team effort and part of that team includes our host base, the 45th Space Wing, other units, as well as the civilian employers and families of reservists who carry the weight of the void left by their deploying [airmen],” Col. Kurt Matthews, 920th Rescue Wing commander, said in the release.

In the Horn of Africa, Patrick personnel will take over the CSAR mission for US Africa Command. The other squadron is deploying to an undisclosed location in the Middle East.