NEWS | July 23, 2021

Alaska Air National Guard Airmen rescue injured hunter at Wood River

By David Bedard 176th Wing Public Affairs

Alaska Air National Guardsmen of the 176th Wing rescued an injured hunter on Wood River near Fairbanks, July 22.

Suffering multiple injuries in a fall, the hunter activated the “SOS” button on his satellite communication device and sent a text message to his spouse detailing his situation.

Alaska Air National Guard Master Sgt. Andre Marron, Alaska Rescue Coordination Center controller and 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk special missions aviator, said the Alaska State Troopers requested assistance from the AKRCC, and they requested assistance from the 176th Wing who tasked a 210th RQS HH-60 and a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II, both of which were already airborne conducting training missions. On board both aircraft were Guardian Angel teams comprised of combat rescue officers and enlisted pararescuemen (PJs).

The spouse talked directly to the AKRCC, relaying coordinates and information critical to expediting the quick rescue.

The HH-60 crew landed near the hunter, and a CRO and PJ provided immediate medical care before evacuating him on the helicopter.

The Pave Hawk took the hunter to the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital where he was released to civilian medical personnel.

Marron said it was fortunate both aircraft were already operating in the area, and he credited the hunter for carrying and quickly using his satellite communication device.

“His decision to reach out via inReach expedited the rescue, ultimately saving the hunter’s life,” he said.

For this rescue, 210th RQS, 211th RQS, 212th RQS, and the AKRCC were awarded one save.