563rd Rescue Group helps rescue man from oil tanker

This weekend, Airmen throughout our Wing worked tirelessly to rescue a man experiencing a life threating condition onboard an oil tanker hundreds of miles off the coast of California.

On Aug. 5, 2022, the 563rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., received the request to support the 129th Rescue Wing, California Air National Guard, with one HC-130 to provide air refueling and overhead command and control capabilities.

Immediately, our aircrew, maintainers, aircrew flight equipment technicians, aviation resource managers, airfield operators, and weather Airmen jumped into action, coordinating and planning well into the evening for a Aug. 6 morning take off. That same day, the guardian angels and HC-130 crews from the 129th airdropped a team in the vicinity of the oil tanker to render critical care to the patient, who at that point was at risk of losing a limb to a rapidly expanding infection.

The next morning, maintainers from the 79th RGS and aircrew from 79th RQS worked together to launch the aircraft and fly to Moffett Field, Calif., for additional mission planning and integration with the 129th.

Once the oil tanker was within range of the California based HH-60s, the 79th crews flew 390NMs off the coast to execute three helicopter air refuelings, provide weather reconnaissance, and relay vital communications between the guardian angel team on the boat, the HH-60 crews racing to exfil the patient, and the Rescue Operations Center. The mission was executed flawlessly and the patient was ultimately flown in stable condition to Moffett Field for follow on medical care.

These incredible actions are a direct result of what the Airmen of the 563rd do every day to maintain the most capable Rescue Force on the planet. Their sacrifices and teamwork saved the life of a man who will get to see his loved ones again.

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