Military Aviation


De-icing HC-130 aircraft

Taken on Jan. 6, 2017 these interesting photos show airmen from the 106th Rescue Wing respond to a sudden major snowstorm at FS Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach.

During the storm, in fact maintainers used de-icing trucks to prevent snow buildup on the HC-130 aircraft, and airmen from the Civil Engineering Squadron plowed the runway, allowing operations at FS Gabreski to continue without delay.

The 106th Rescue Wing

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.”

On September 11, 2001, the first ANG personnel on scene at World Trade Center were those of the 106th Rescue Wing.

In 2004, Air Force Special Operations Command re-organized Air National Guard rescue wings, establishing separate squadrons for fixed-wing, helicopter and pararescue. The squadron transferred its HH-60P Pave Hawk helicopters to the 101st Rescue Squadron; its pararescue personnel to the 103d Rescue Squadron.

Photo credit: Staff Sergeant Christopher S Muncy / U.S. Air National Guard

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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