JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Responding to a request for assistance from the Alaska State Troopers, the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing rescued hikers in two separate incidents Aug. 3.
Airmen with the Alaska Air National Guard’s 210th and 212th rescue squadrons rescued one injured hiker in the vicinity of Hatcher’s Pass and another near Winner Creek Park.
“As one mission closed another mission was opened,” said Alaska Air National Guard Lt. Col Keenan Zerkel, director of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center.
The 210th and 212th rescue squadrons comprise the busiest rescue force in the Department of Defense, part of a unique search-and-rescue network that saves hundreds of lives in Alaska each year.
Two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters from the 210th Rescue Squadron launched from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Aboard each helicopter were two pararescuemen, highly trained personnel specializing in evacuating individuals even in the most challenging conditions.
According to Zerkel, a hoist was used to evacuate the individual near Winner Creek Park as landing was not an option due to the steep terrain. Both hikers were evacuated to Providence Alaska Medical Center.
“Our main concern was to evacuate these individuals as safely and quickly as possible” Zerkel said.
For these missions, the 210th and 212th rescue squadrons, and the AKRCC were awarded two saves.