943d Rescue Group

The 943d Rescue Group, a geographically separated unit of the 920th Rescue Wing, is located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. The 943d RQG performs day and night combat rescue missions to search for, locate and recover isolated personnel. The group also provides search and rescue support for humanitarian and disaster relief operations at the request of the United State Government through FEMA, foreign governments, and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Notable mission highlight:

In the Hindu Kush mountain range in northeastern Afghanistan's Kunar Province, a group of 920th Rescue Wing reservists made history.

It was there, in June of 2005, that 25 reservists from the 920th Rescue Wing rescued Marcus Luttrell, a Navy SEAL on the run from the Taliban after all the other members of his SEAL team had been killed in an ambush during a covert operation.

Luttrell documented his ordeal in the bestselling novel "Lone Survivor," the Hollywood movie adaptation of which opened at Brevard County theaters this week.

Wing members also conducted the recovery operation to retrieve the remains of Luttrell's fallen SEAL team, including Navy lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the operation.

Many of the reservists involved with the rescue and recovery missions are still members of the 920th Rescue Wing and its geographically separated unit, 943d Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona.

The Airmen from Patrick were:

HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter pilots Lt. Col. Paul Nevius and Lt. Col. John Lowe; assistant director of operations Senior Master Sgt. Stephen Schwarz; special missions aviator Senior Master Sgt. Randolph Wells; and pararescuemen Senior Master Sgt. Michael Ziegler, Master Sgt. Chris Seinkner and Master Sgt. Daniel Murray.

The Airmen from Davis-Monthan were:

HH-60G pilots Lt. Col. Jeffrey Peterson and Maj. David Gonzales; and Maj. Joshua Appel, who was a Master Sergeant pararescueman at the time of the mission.

The book and movie versions of Lone Survivor are not the only media adaptations of Luttrell's story. The 920th Rescue Wing was featured in the National Geographic television series "Helicopter Wars," in which an entire episode, called "The Taliban Gambit,' was devoted specifically to the wing's role in the rescue mission.

Since 1956, the 920th Rescue Wing has saved more than 4,000 lives, including 870 combat rescues and 3,000 peacetime rescues, such as the 1,043 lives the wing saved during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.