MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. - California Air National Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing (RQW) completed an overwater rescue mission on the Pacific Ocean today, saving the life of a seriously ill 48-year-old male on board the Union Trader, a Greek shipping vessel. The rescue marks the unit's second overwater save in the past week and their 1,012th life saved since 1977.
"Today's successful rescue, just on the heels of last week's rescue, clearly demonstrates the always-ready posture of the women and men of the 129th Rescue Wing," said Wing Commander Col. Gregory F. Jones. "I could not be more proud of the dedication of the members of the 129th Rescue Wing who put their talents on display every day on behalf of those in need across California and beyond.”
The Union Trader was approximately 550 nautical miles west of San Francisco when the U.S. Coast Guard requested Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) assistance. The 129th RQW accepted the mission due to the time-critical nature of the event and the distance of the vessel from shore.
In coordination with the AFRCC and Coast Guard, the 129th RQW launched two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, an MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft, and a Guardian Angel Pararescue team from Moffett Federal Airfield around 7 a.m. en route to the Union Trader. Active duty Air Force personnel later joined the effort when HC-130J aircraft from the 79th Rescue Squadron launched from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, near Tucson, Arizona, providing additional air refueling capacity.
Once the Pararescue personnel boarded the vessel, they ensured the patient was stable before hoisting him onto the Pave Hawk helicopter that departed for Moffett Federal Airfield. En route, the Guardian Angel team provided medical care for the Greek crewman inside the helicopter. An ambulance met the crewman at Moffett Federal Airfield and transported him to a local hospital.
The 129th Rescue Wing is credited with saving the lives of more than 1,000 people. From arid deserts and snow-covered mountain tops to urban and rural settings, 129th Rescue Wing Air Guardsmen can reach any destination by land, air or sea. Equipped with MC-130P Combat Shadow aircraft, HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters and Guardian Angel teams (Pararescuemen and Combat Rescue Officers), the 129th Rescue Wing conducts combat search and rescue missions, as well as the rescue of distressed persons on board ships, lost or injured hikers, and medical evacuations across the West Coast.
Media Contact: Senior Airman Brian Jarvis (650) 556-4858