Pave Hawk Unit Returns from Afghanistan Tour

Airmen from the 33rd Rescue Squadron’s B Flight returned home to Kadena AB, Japan, on Oct. 6 after four months of operating out of Bagram AB, Afghanistan, in support of US and coalition operations in the Near East nation. Overall, the flight of HH-60G rescue helicopters saved 38 persons during the deployment and logged more than 375 combat hours, with each Pave Hawk pilot accumulating about 95 hours. Capt. Aaron Croft, a pilot with the unit, noted that the helicopters sometimes operated in high-altitude areas that made landings challenging. “[But] this increased our skills for future missions,” he said. During the time at Bagram, the HH-60Gs operated increasingly in concert with other platforms such as A-10s, F-15s, special operations U-28As, and Army AH-64 Apache helicopters. “We had a couple of big missions where a lot more people were involved [than normal],” said Capt. Tom Harley, another 33rd RQS pilot. The HH-60Gs also carried out high-risk medical evacuation missions with the Apaches, when Army medevac assets could not, often in bad weather and at night. (Kadena report by TSgt. Rey Ramon)