Polar Plunge for Life

Two Alaska Air National Guard pararescuemen recently jumped into a remote site160-miles north of the Arctic Circle to rescue a woman in critical need of medical care. An HC-130 rescue refueling aircraft originally set out from JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, with an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter. During the stop-over at Eielson Air Force Base, further to the north, the helicopter developed a mechanical problem and aborted. The PJs elected to continue on, making a night jump illuminated by flares from the HC-130. A fur trapper guided the PJs from the drop zone to his remote cabin, where the rescuers began treating his wife. They treated the 58-year old woman for gastrointestinal bleeding and dehydration for 18 hours until she could be extracted “later the next day,” said one of the jumpers, SMSgt. Brandon Stuemke. The woman was airlifted to a hospital in Fairbanks for treatment Oct. 22. (Elmendorf report by Maj. Guy Hayes)