PORTLAND AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ore --
On September 3, a 34-year-old male, his seven-year-old daughter, and their dog were rescued after being reported missing for two days in the Mt. Hood wilderness area.
At the time of notification, the lost personnel were believed to be in a steep canyon. Clackamas County Sheriffs took the lead and requested assistance from the 304th Rescue Squadron, (RQS).
304th RQS personnel were notified at 9:30 pm on September 2, and quickly went into action. The team assembled at 10:00 p.m. for mission planning and gear preparation. 15-minutes after midnight, the 11 rescue personnel team left for Kinzel Lake Campground to link up with Clackamas County Search and Rescue.
The team consisted of one Combat Rescue Officer (CRO), seven Pararescue (PJ) Specialists, and three Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) specialists.
Maj. Ryan, Director of Operations 304th Rescue Squadron said, “We were contacted late last night about a mission to aid the Clackamas Sheriff department with technical rescue support for a search of two isolated personnel in the wilderness just south of Rhododendron, Oregon.”
At 1:30 a.m. the team arrived at Kinzel Lake Campground. By 1:50 a.m., two Search and Rescue (SAR) teams departed the campground to look for the missing man and daughter.
Each search team was outfitted with adverse terrain gear, fusion goggles (Thermal & Night Vision), technical rope rescue equipment, and medical gear.
By 5:40 a.m. the 304th SAR teams located the lost hikers with non-life-threatening injuries. Both patients were unable to walk and required rope systems and litters to be safely extracted from the area.
At 7:00 a.m. 304th SAR teams link up with members of the Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron who assisted with patient movement. The rescuers had to navigate, with the injured patients on litters, through roughly 1 kilometer of dense terrain in order to reach the nearest service road.
Capt. Phil Combat Rescue Officer, 304th Rescue Squadron was the Liaison Officer, (LNO) working with the Clackamas Sheriffs department.
“It was a combined effort between the 304th RQS and 125th STS moving the two patients through very thick and steep terrain,” said Capt. Phil. “Technical rope systems were used at a number of different locations in order to safely transport the two patients off the mountain to a place where they could be turned over to definitive care.”
By 12:30 p.m. the patients were extracted from the wilderness and turned over for medical care, mission complete.
“Our members responded in the middle of the night to assist the local authorities, located the isolated personnel, and evacuated them to safety,” said Ryan. “I am extremely proud of our team and how they performed to enable a positive outcome for the local authorities. A great reflection of the capabilities of the Air Force Reserve Command’s Guardian Angel Rescue Squadrons. “
Guardian Angel, (GA) is the name of an elite group of personnel that is a non-aircraft, equipment-based human weapon system uniquely designed and dedicated to conducting Personnel Recovery across the full range of military operations. Guardian Angel is comprised of Combat Rescue Officers, Pararescue specialist, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Specialists, and uniquely trained support personnel dedicated to the Air Force core function of Personnel Recovery.
The 304th trains, equips, and deploys Combat Rescue Officers, Pararescuemen, and support personnel worldwide in the interest of U.S. national security. The squadron is an extension of the 943rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, which is a geographically separated unit within the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, Florida.
The Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron (STS), located at the Portland Air National Guard Base, Portland, Oregon, is an integral part of the US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC).
"These Things We Do, That Others May Live."
*Editors Note: Last names have been omitted for operational security considerations.