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NEWS | Jan. 18, 2023

Alaska Army Guard rescue distressed person near Whittier via hoist

By Balinda O’Neal Alaska National Guard Public Affairs

Alaska Army National Guard’s Detachment 1, Gulf Company, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion, rescued a distressed individual Jan. 17 from the Main Bay Hatchery 20 miles southwest of Whittier.

The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center received a mission support request for a medevac from the Alaska State Troopers who were not able to attempt the rescue due to bad weather in the area.

According to the AKRCC, the landing site at the bay wasn’t large enough to accommodate the HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. Lt. Col. Christy Brewer, AKRCC director, said Alaska Air and Army Guardsmen train and prepare for these types of situations.

“You go out with a plan in mind, but you don’t have all the details,” said Brewer. “Once you are on scene, that plan almost always changes when you get more factual data.”

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bradley Jorgensen, pilot in command of the mission, said that his team, a co-pilot, flight medic and hoist operator, were able to launch within one hour of getting the initial call.

“We went in thinking we were going to land but were prepped and ready to execute the hoist,” said Jorgensen.

On scene, the flight medic, Spc. Matthew Tucker, secured the patient in an air rescue vest and worked with crew chief and hoist operator, Staff Sgt. Sonny Cooper, to ascend 110 feet into the helicopter. Tucker then monitored the patient during transport to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

For this rescue mission, the AKRCC and 2-211th GSAB received credit for one save.