Moody, Charleston set standard for CSAR community

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Briana Beavers
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

The 41st Rescue Generation Squadron was successfully certified in folding and loading two HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopters onto a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft from the 14th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, on March 11, 2022.

This Air Transportability Testing and Loading Agency, or ATTLA, certification not only allows the 41st RGS to load HH-60W helicopters, but it also certifies the C-17 aircraft to transport them. Furthermore, all Combat Search and Rescue communities with an HH-60W program now have the ability to transport HH-60W helicopters on C-17s anywhere in the world due to this process.

“This is a fleet-wide certification that will impact the entire CSAR community,” said Master Sgt. Jeffrey Tessendorf, 41st RGS lead production superintendent. “Any base that flies an HH-60W will now be able to utilize a C-17 for transport just because the 41st set this standard.”

The employment of C-17s for transport effectively shortens the amount of time it takes to engage CSAR operations around the globe.

“(This process) provides that worldwide capability,” said Tessendorf. ”If we get the call, we can have an aircraft folded within four hours, loaded on a C-17 and flown to a (contested location) within two days versus flying an (HH-60W) which would take about a week.”

In addition to faster employment of aircraft, the 41st RGS is able to increase the number of aircraft provided due to the certification.

“The initial certification was for one (HH-60W),” said said Maj. Thomas Bihansky, 41st RGS commander, “but our airmen realized that they could load two aircrafts on the C-17. This saves the entire Air Force fleet when we have to deploy somewhere by allowing us to get more aircraft out to a combat unit faster.”

As the 23rd Wing prepares to be Lead-Wing ready, capabilities such as these become vital to the wing’s success.

“CSAR is a key part of the Lead-Wing concept,” said Bihansky. “This certification allows us to deploy anywhere in the world at any time and wherever contingency or combat operations require us to be. It’s vital we get these aircraft to the fight when called upon.”

Getting these aircraft to the fight greatly depends on the warfighting maintainers of the rescue community.

This certification is a huge achievement for the 41st RGS Whiskey program and our Airmen, said Bihansky. It brings the rescue community one step closer to being combat capable and Lead-Wing ready.

This certification guarantees that all HH-60W models are transportable on C-17s until they retire from service.