By Senior Airman Cali Elliott, 920th Rescue Wing
/ Published September 25, 2020
A 301st Rescue Squadron Special Mission Aviator looks at the camera inside an HH-60G Pave Hawk on May 30, 2020 at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Special Missions Aviators perform essentially all other tasks other than piloting the aircraft, including acting as Flight Engineer, Loadmaster, Aerial Gunner, Navigator, Weapons System Specialist, Electronic Warfare Officer, Radio Operator, Sensor Operator and Combat Systems Officer. The 301st RQS, 920th Rescue Wing, operates the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter, conducting both peacetime and combat search-and-rescue missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan)
920th Rescue Squadron Aeromedical Staging Squadron Airmen prepare to mobilize into “hot zones” in support of the COVID-19 pandemic from Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., April 5, 2020. This deployment is part of a larger mobilization package of more than 120 doctors, nurses and respiratory technicians Air Force Reserve units across the nation provided over the past 48 hours in support of the COVID-19 response to take care of Americans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jared)
A maintenance Airman signals the HC-130 P/N aircraft as it begins to taxi on Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Dec. 16, 2019. The 39th Rescue Squadron delivered their final HC-130 P/N Combat King aircraft to the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. This fleet of aircraft will be replaced by the newly improved HC/MC-130J models in the Spring of 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan)
A crew chief with the 720th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron reviews a maintenance checklist ahead of a flight out of Kirkland Air Force Base, New Mexico, Dec. 17, 2019. Maintenance teams travel with aircraft during extended trips to address any mechanical issues that may arise. Operating out of Patrick Air force Base, the 720th AMXS is responsible for maintaining the 920th Rescue Wing’s fixed winged aircraft, which are specially designed for combat-search-and-rescue missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes)
Lt. Col. Nick, 39th Rescue Squadron navigator, looks out the front window of the HC-130P/N aircraft as it flies to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., Dec. 17, 2019. The unit delivered the last of its HC-130 P/N Combat King aircraft, which are being replaced by the newly improved HC/MC-130J models. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes)
Joey, center, talks with a handful of his teammates inside Riverview Terrance field hospital in March. The field hospital operated for five weeks and as a result of their efforts, 60 patients received the care they desperately required. (courtesy photo)
Lt. Col. Matt and Lt. Col. Bobby conduct pre-flight procedures for the first official HC-130J Combat King II operational fight, June 2, 2020 at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. Crew members the 39th Rescue Squadron receive on average of seven months of training on the new variant HC-130. The new aircraftl has greater range, a higher maximum speed and shorter takeoff and landing distances than previous HC-130 models. (U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Amanda Ling)
Chief Master Sgt. Michael Ziegler, 308th Rescue Squadron pararescueman, renders a salute to the American flag during his retirement ceremony on May 2, 2020 at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. The ceremony was specially tailored to accommodate social distancing measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan)
Staff Sgt. Madeline, 920th Maintenance Squadron, ensures the readiness of the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters during the COVID-19 pandemic and with minimal manning in effect. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly)
A 920th Security Forces Squadron Airman checks a stairwell during incident response training inside an abandoned facility on Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Aug. 20, 2020. This an annual training requirement plays an integral role in preparing our highly trained Defenders to handle high stress and chaotic situations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan)
Maj. Gen. Brian K. Borgen, Tenth Air Force Commander, Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, Texas, visited 920th Rescue Wing Airmen at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Sept. 12.
Borgen spent the weekend visiting Airmen within nearly every single squadron attached to the 920th RQW.
“Our Reservists are in a unique position to combine their civilian expertise, knowledge, and experience with their military training,” the General said. “I’m always impressed with the talent we have in the Tenth and how well our Airmen are able to integrate both worlds, further empowering their individual squadrons and by effect, enhancing the lethality and readiness of their Wing.”
During the visit, the Tenth Air Force Commander sought to recognize several Airmen across the Rescue Wing who’ve gone above and beyond during the year who exemplify the Wing’s motto: “These Things We Do That Others May Live.”
For example, during the Mission Support Group facilities tour the General was introduced to Airman First Class Ryan, an Air Transportation Airman within the Logistics Readiness Squadron. While conducting final checks in preparation for Hurricane Isaias, a need was identified to transfer medical records to a secure location. The A1C quickly took action without leadership intervention. He contacted his LRS leadership team, informed them of the situation, rallied members and prepared vehicles/trailers to quickly resolve the issue which secured and safeguarded medical records for the Wing.
As the visit continued, General Borgen would meet two Aeromedical Staging Squadron (ASTS) Airmen who distinguished themselves for their outstanding performance when called upon for New York COVID-19 response earlier this year.
Staff Sgt. Jorge, Non-commissioned Officer in Charge of Physical Exams and Deployments overhauled the examination and medical deployment process when the request to deploy to New York came in. His implementation of new guidance ensured all deployers were medically qualified prior to heading to the North Eastern state. The NCOIC was instrumental in ensuring all 920 RQW Airmen heading for NYC COVID-19 Response were medically cleared and out the door in less than 24-hours.
920th ASTS Respiratory Therapist, Staff Sgt. Marja, was one of those members who deployed for that response. While she was deployed to NYC’s Lincoln Memorial Center, one of the hardest hit Coronavirus areas, she provided her respiratory therapist skills to ventilated patients in the fight against COVID-19. She had a remarkable patient save when responding to an alarm for a patient that was not assigned to her. Marja quickly recognized an emergent situation related to an endotracheal tube which had become dislodged in an unstable patient. She promptly provided lifesaving interventions then elicited additional assistance to provide more definitive care. Her attention to detail and quick thinking prevented almost certain and imminent death for the patient.
“The drive and initiative of the 920th Airmen, with their willingness to take on projects without being instructed to do so, is exactly what I’m looking for in our Airmen,” Borgen said. “We need to get away from the mother-may-I mentality our Air Force has fallen into and start to once again to empower our SSgt/TSgt and young officers to make decisions without them worrying about receiving negative repercussions if they fail”
Additionally, he observed a training exercise first-hand conducted by the 301st Rescue Squadron by joining aircrew on a HH-60 Pave Hawk Helicopter. The capabilities and readiness of the 301st RQS allowed for a smooth flight, allowing him to see many sites including Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SPACEX and NASA.
Borgen takes time to visit the Airmen who fall under the Tenth Air Force umbrella by venturing to different Reserve units on Unit Training Assembly weekends. While doing so, he evaluates all of the units, upcoming assets they may need, and learns how he can better advocate for them.
The Tenth Air Force Commander takes initiative by seeing first-hand what he can do to improve not just the units he oversees, but the Air Force Reserve as a whole.
The 920th Rescue Wing falls under the command of Tenth Air Force, which is one of three Numbered Air Force’s (NAFs) in Air Force Reserve Command. The other two NAFs include Fourth Air Force in California and the Twenty Second Air Force located in Georgia.
His command operates across multiple domains which include all special operations and rescue units in the Air Force Reserve.
Based at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., the 920th RQW is the only Air Force Reserve Command wing that trains and equips its Airmen to carry out its mission; to search for, locate and recover U.S. Armed Forces personnel. Air Force rescue is the only DoD entity specifically organized, trained and equipped to conduct personnel recovery operations into hostile or denied areas as a primary mission.
“The Things We Do That Others May Live”
*Editors Note: Last names have been omitted for 920th Rescue Wing Airmen for operational security.