Recently the 79th Rescue Squadron left for a deployment to Italy. The squadron is expected to be away for a continuous 18 months.
The 79th RQS will be relieving a rescue squadron from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., from their 18 month tour.
This will be the first deployment for the 79th RQS with the new C-130J Combat King II. D-M received its first C-130J last November. The squadron has been able to train their personnel in 10 months rather than the usual 12 months.
“One of the challenges for the 79th RQS has been getting our people combat ready on the C-130J in such a short period of time. Now the kind of responsibilities that we are being held accountable for,” said Captain Matthew McCants, 79th RQS pilot.
Angel Thunder, the world’s largest personnel recovery exercise, was a major factor in determining if the squadron was ready for deployments.
“Formally, and informally, Angel Thunder was our litmus test as to whether or not we were ready to go forward and be a combat-mission, ready unit,” McCants said.
The exercise provided a way for pilots and other rescue personnel to complete required training and certifications while also working with multinational units. Both of these resources will be implemented while on the deployment to Italy.
Angel Thunder provides the most realistic pararescue training environments available to U.S. Air Force rescue forces, as well as their joint, interagency, and international partners.