PJs to the rescue

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jacob T. Stephens
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from across Davis-Monthan Air Force Base executed a combat search and rescue exercise at Coronado National Forest, Arizona, April 28, 2020.

The training was a personnel recovery mission that included three simulated isolated personnel, one of which had a simulated injury to increase the skills trained within the exercise.

“For the training, we integrated with a number of different units outside of our squadron to ensure we can do what we are trained to do, saving personnel behind enemy lines, and fulfill that need the Air Force has,” said 1st Lt. Forrest Schaffer, 55th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk pilot.

The Airmen involved included, but were not limited to aircrews from the 55th RQS, Guardian Angel pararescuemen from the 306th RQS, support personnel from several units around Davis-Monthan and others.

“Training is an extremely important part of everything we do,” said Master Sgt. Alan Price, 306th RQS medical technician. “Having the ability to train across units ensures that everyone can stay up-to-date on all certifications and are proficient in our jobs. In doing this, we stay ready to face and defeat any threat or adversary we may face.”

The 306th RQS is a rescue unit at Davis-Monthan assigned to Air Force Reserve Command and falls under the 943rd Rescue Group. The RQS is one AFRC units on Davis-Monthan and is a mission partner that supports the wing’s rescue mission.

“Things will never go as planned so we have to prepare for the unexpected, which includes ensuring our ability to fluidly work with other mission partners,” said Price. “Sustaining the ability to execute while working with Airmen from other units, bases and major commands will make sure that we can effectively perform our mission anywhere and at any time.”

Another way that interoperability was exercised was with the different airframes that helped execute this personnel recovery mission including A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, HH-60G Pave Hawks, an HC-130J Combat King II and F-16 Fighting Falcons from Davis-Monthan, as well as F-35 Lightning IIs from Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

“Anytime that we have the opportunity to train alongside the Guardian Angels and other aircraft, it is a significant contribution to the effectiveness of our training,” said Schaffer. “For the 306th specifically, we all play by the same playbook and rules so we all know how to do the job. Integrating with these guys and anyone on the ground just adds a new element of realism to what we do.”

The mission of Davis-Monthan involves being ready to deploy combat airpower anywhere in the world at any time in support of four combatant commanders and executing these missions ensures the ability of the Airmen to do that.

“This caliber of training ensures that we are postured in a way that we can meet the needs of the Air Force overall and of the combatant commanders whose mission requires the CSAR element in their theater,” said Schaeffer.

The ability of our Airmen and force to stay ready and lethal is as critical now as ever and despite what may be happening, the 355th Wing trains and executes missions daily to ensure that it stays the most combat ready wing possible.