LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. — A six-episode television documentary exploring Air Force combat rescue in Afghanistan through the stories of deployed Airmen will begin airing in February.
The show, “Inside Combat Rescue,” provides a real-time look at the experiences of Airmen working to save the lives of NATO coalition members, Afghan security forces and Afghan civilians.
In this first-of-its kind series for the Air Force, a National Geographic film crew embedded with pararescuemen, combat rescue officers, HH-60G Pave Hawk crews and support forces of the 23d Wing during a 2012 deployment to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
The show features Guardian Angel team members–PJs and CROs–deployed from Moody’s 38th Rescue Squadron and Pave Hawk crews deployed from the 66th Rescue Squadron and associated units at Nellis AFB.
“We’re excited for people to have a first-hand look at the great work Air Force combat rescue Airmen do every day around the world,” said Col. Billy Thompson, 23d Wing commander. “The series portrays just a fraction of the capabilities Air Force personnel recovery forces bring combatant commanders, and it captures what a true team effort this mission set requires. It’s important to realize it takes the work of hundreds of Airmen in dozens of career fields to make the lives saved by our rescue crews possible.”
In addition to cameramen on the ground, more than 40 mounted cameras recorded each mission to capture thousands of hours of raw footage during this Air Force and Department of Defense sanctioned project.
“I am extremely proud of our combat rescue officers, pararescuemen, and support personnel teams,” said Lt. Col. Patrick O’Rourke, 38th Rescue Squadron commander.
“We train hard every day to ensure that when the mission drops, we are ready and will accomplish what is required without fail.”
During the deployment, the rescue crews flew 130 missions and saved 108 lives. Air Force rescue forces saved more than 12,200 U.S., allied and host nation forces in conflicts worldwide since Sept. 11, 2001. They have rescued more than 5,000 people worldwide during catastrophic natural disasters and other responses.
“We feel humbled and honored to be able to tell the stories of such a brave, selfless and heroic group of people in this series. Their inspiring mission not only depicts the tragic consequences of war, but the humanity as well,” said Jared McGilliard, “Inside Combat Rescue” series producer. “Spending two months filming and getting to know them in Afghanistan was an amazing experience I will never forget.”
The entertainment industry regularly engages the U.S. Air Force for involvement in motion pictures, television and video games through the Air Force Entertainment Liaison Office in Los Angeles, Calif. This office works to protect the Air Force’s interests and project its missions, capabilities and Airmen through entertainment.
“Our priority is to ensure we have the opportunity to engage with the creative community so we can put the Air Force in the best position to inform the nation through entertainment. Programs like this, which allow us showcase our real Airmen and missions, are priceless,” said Lt. Col. Francisco Hamm, director, Air Force Entertainment Liaison Office.