The 106th Rescue Wing deploys worldwide to provide combat search and rescue coverage for U.S. and allied forces
During the storm, in fact maintainers used de-icing trucks to prevent snow buildup on the HC-130s, and airmen from the Civil Engineering Squadron plowed the runway, allowing operations at FS Gabreski to continue without delay.
Noteworthy the 106th Rescue Wing, which flies HC-130 Hercules tankers and Sikorsky HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, deploys worldwide to provide combat search and rescue coverage for U.S. and allied forces.
The unit gained the headlines in Oct. 1991, when an HH-60 and a tanker flew to an endangered sailboat about 250 miles south of its base. The Pave Hawk and HC-130 dropped survival gear to the vessel, which was riding out the storm, and began their return to base. Both aircraft encountered severe weather conditions and the helicopter was unable to take on fuel.
The HH-60 was forced to ditch in the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles south of the base in what would later become known as “the Perfect Storm”, and all but one member of the crew were saved by the crew of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) cutter Tamaroa. TSGT Arden Smith, a pararescueman (PJ), lost his life fulfilling the squadron’s motto “That Others May Live.”
Photo credit: Staff Sergeant Christopher S Muncy / U.S. Air National Guard