JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska –
Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing rescued an injured hunter Sept. 8 near Flat about 285 miles northwest of Anchorage.
Alaska State Troopers requested support after the hunter messaged for help using a two-way satellite-communication device.
The hunter, suffering from a deep laceration, was aided by his hunting partner who used an improvised tourniquet to slow the bleeding.
At the request of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, 176th Wing launched a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter and a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King with 212th Rescue Squadron pararescuemen onboard both aircraft.
The HH-60 crew located the hunter and hoisted the pararescuemen down to the hunter because surrounding brush prevented landing. The pararescuemen loaded the hunter in a Stokes litter for hoist into the Pave Hawk.
The Pave Hawk crew transported the hunter to nearby McGrath where he was transloaded to the HC-130 that transported the injured hunter to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and released him to the Anchorage Fire Department for transport to the Alaska Native Medical Center.
The HC-130 air-to-air refueled the HH-60 during the mission to extend the helicopter’s range.
Alaska Air National Guard Senior Master Sgt. Jeff Hamilton, AKRCC superintendent, said the hunting party’s preparation before heading out into the wilderness was key to a successful mission.
“Having a satellite SOS device in the hunter’s extremely remote location was key to quickly requesting aid, determining the location, and sending help,” he said. “Their use of a two-way satellite messenger meant medical advice could be passed to treat the injury and was also key to a good outcome.”
For the mission, 210th RQS, 211th RQS, 212th RQS and the AKRCC received credit for one save.