A Somber Mission: Air Force Reserve Guardian Angels Team Up For Recovery On Mt. Hood

  • Published
  • By Andre Trinidad
  • 943rd Rescue Group

Wednesday morning the 304th Rescue Squadron supported a rescue operation on Mt. Hood after a downed aircraft was spotted earlier this week.

Twelve personnel from the 304th Rescue Squadron, Air Force Reserve, participated in the rescue efforts. During the course of the operation it was discovered that there were no survivors and they would be assisting in the recovery.

The Hood River Crag Rats and the Oregon Air National Guard’s 125th Special Tactics Squadron were also called to recover the body of George Regis, whose plane wreckage was found on Tuesday.

A Combat Rescue Officer (CRO) from the 304th Rescue Squadron said the recovery went very well.

“The incident was pretty far up the mountain,” said the CRO. “With these civilian search and rescue missions the Hood River Crag Rats were the primary, so we up there to support them.”

Members from the 304th Rescue Squadron left Portland Air National Guard base Wednesday at 4:30 am.

Once arriving to Mount Hood, “we pushed up the Mountain from 6,000 feet up to 9,000 feet” said the CRO.

Once recovered, the team began their trek back down the mountain. “We skied Regis down the glacier until we hit a ridgeline” said the CRO. The ridge required the team to traverse 500 feet up, using a mechanical advantage rope system.

The team quickly set up the system and raised Regis to continue the movement down the mountain. The CRO said “in total we moved about six miles.”

"It was some pretty tricky terrain,” said the CRO. “I’ve been on several crash recoveries’; you always learn a lot from conducting real-world missions."

The 304th Rescue Squadron supplements civilian rescue operations when the mission requirements are beyond their capabilities.

"The civilian agency really needed us there for the extra manpower and support because it was such a tricky mission.” The CRO said “We really appreciate the 920th Rescue Wing and 943rd Rescue Group's support in this recovery mission.”