Members from the 563rd Rescue Group met with civilian search and rescue factions in Silver City, N.M. April 20.
The meeting was a means to inform local groups of D-Mâ€™s search and rescue capabilities and how to request assistance if needed.
â€œThis meeting is about opening up a dialogue between us and the rescue community,â€ said Mr. Brett Hartnett, director of the pararescue exercise Angel Thunder, and one of the liaisons sent to Silver City.
Fire service members, members of the Chino Spring Cowboys and representatives of the Fort Apache Indian Tribe all gathered outside underneath a mesh canopy at the Grant County Airport to hear members of the Desert Lightening Team speak on their craft.
The idea to give a mass briefing on D-Mâ€™s pararescue capabilities came on the heels of a rescue effort involving a missing tribesman who went into the woods in search of antlers.
â€œThe search had already been underway for about two days before we were contacted,â€ Hartnett said. â€œWe were able to bring some resources to the search that really helped. We just wished weâ€™d been called in earlier.â€
The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center also sent a representative from Tyndall AFB, Fla.
â€œCoordinating with any agency that we have close dealings with always makes operations flow smoother,â€ said Lt. Col. Jameson Dugdale, AFRCC director of operations. â€œWe like to come out and brief face to face so that they can ask any questions they may have, and it gets them familiar with Air Force personnel.â€
Speakers during the meeting included an HH-60 Pavehawk pilot, a flight engineer and a pararescueman.
â€œIt was good to hear exactly what D-M can do from the people who actually do it,â€ said Sabino Archuletta, Fort Apache aviation manager. â€œThe search and rescue agencies used to work independently of one another. But now, with cutbacks, no one has the resources they used to, so we try to work together. Knowing exactly what part D-M could play in a search effort is a tremendous help.â€