January 24, 2013

79th and 66th Rescue Squadrons aid in civilian search, rescue

Airman 1st Class Monet Villacorte
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  — Thirteen members of the 66th Rescue Squadron aided the 79th RQS at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., in a civilian search and rescue mission Jan. 5 near Kingman, Ariz.

The 66th RQS not only aids in combat search and rescue, but also assists with civilian missions as well.

“We are trained to recover isolated [people] whether it’s an aircraft that has crashed or [been] shot down, to finding missing persons in combat, as well as civil search and rescue,” said Capt. Evan Marchetti, 66th RQS instructor pilot.

After the Air Force rescue coordination center was notified of the situation, rescue Airmen received a call from the 66th RQS assistant director of operations at approximately 8 p.m. that a 7-year-old boy was missing from his grandmother’s home in Arizona.

Local law enforcement and service members from Davis-Monthan AFB looked for the child with a ground search party while the 66th RQS provided two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters for an air-to-ground search.

“We were given an area to search that the officers had a good idea that he was going to be,” Marchetti said. “We started doing a preliminary search, but the tall grassland and vegetation made it difficult to see. So, we slowed down and brought the aircraft down to 50 feet.

“We spent about four-and-a-half hours over the area searching,” he added.

The child was found about five miles from the grandmother’s home in good condition by the ground search party.

Airmen from the 66th RQS are always ready at a moment’s notice to provide assistance in any emergency situation.

“Most, if not all, of the aircrew would jump at any opportunity to do this kind of mission and help someone in need,” Marchetti said.

“The reason we do this is so others may live,” said Maj. Michael Paulus, 66th RQS HH-60G flight lead. “That’s something that we are fortunate enough to do on a regular basis. To have the ability to go out and find someone in need and distress then bring them back to their families is about the most rewarding job you could have.”

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