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Arizona fighter group trains with rescue wing

Airmen from the 924th Maintenance Squadron work on an A-10C Thunberbolt II as it arrives July 16 in preparation for their annual tour at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Citizen Airmen with the 924th Fighter Group, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, are training together to perfect skills needed during combat.

Airmen from the 924th Maintenance Squadron work on an A-10C Thunberbolt II as it arrives July 16 in preparation for their annual tour at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Citizen Airmen with the 924th Fighter Group, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, are training together to perfect skills needed during combat.

An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter prepares to land July 15 at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Citizen Airmen with the 924th Fighter Group, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, are training together to perfect skills needed during combat.

An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter prepares to land July 15 at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Citizen Airmen with the 924th Fighter Group, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. and the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, are training together to perfect skills needed during combat.

Chief Master Sgt. Jamie Cornelia, 924th Maintenance Squadron, talks to newly arriving Airmen from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. to Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., July 14 about scheduled events during their deployment. Citizen Airmen with the 924th Fighter Group, Davis-Monthan AFB and the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, are training together to perfect skills needed during combat.

Chief Master Sgt. Jamie Cornelia, 924th Maintenance Squadron, talks to newly arriving Airmen from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. to Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., July 14 about scheduled events during their deployment. Citizen Airmen with the 924th Fighter Group, Davis-Monthan AFB and the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, are training together to perfect skills needed during combat.

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Citizen Airmen with the 924th Fighter Group, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona and the 920th Rescue Wing here are training together to perfect skills needed during combat.

Approximately 200 Airmen slowly trickled in during the weekend from D-M to the beautiful ocean side scenery of Cocoa Beach, Florida, and are scheduled to stay through the end of the month.

In addition to Airmen, pilots from the 47th Fighter Squadron flew in 10 A-10C Thunderbolt II “Warthog” aircraft here to train with the 920 RQW’s helicopter squadron, the 301st. The squadron operates the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter to conduct combat search and rescue operations.

"My hope is that everyone will emerge from this deployment more competent in the mission of the A-10, more confident in their ability to do their mission and more cohesive as a unit,” said Col. Thomas McNurlin, 924 FG Commander. “As a new unit, we have people from all over the Air Force who haven’t worked together for very long. Getting them to a deployed location in a new setting will force them out of their comfort zone and encourage them to overcome the challenges by working together.”

The training will focus on tactics the A-10C can offer during combat operations, providing close air support for the combat search and rescue squadron.

CSAR units and platforms form a major part of the resources dedicated to those in need. The Air Force has been designated by the Department of Defense as the lead service for CSAR. The mission of the 920th is, “combat and civilian search and rescue, rocket launch support, humanitarian relief.”  

The rescue wing is an Air Force Reserve Command unit commanded by Col. Jeffrey L. Macrander. Its primary mission is CSAR, and it is the only Reserve rescue wing in AFRC. They have three geographically-separated units, the 943rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., the 304th Rescue Squadron at Portland, Ore, and the 920th Aerospace Medicine Flight at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va..  

“Fixed wing airframe aircraft are the most reactive support platform,” said Lt. Col. Roderick Stout, 920th Operations Support HH-60G pilot. “Working with A-10s hones that ability, and provides the 920th rescue wing the training necessary to afford air combat command with world class combat search and rescue forces.”  

This is the first time the fighter group has come out to Patrick AFB to train with the rescue forces but does train with the 943rd Rescue Group, which is an HH-60 unit collocated at D-M. The deployment provides the A-10C community an opportunity to share best practices and refine tactical skills with the rescue squadron.  

The 924th consists of three units; the 924th Maintenance Squadron, the 47th FS, and the 924th Operational Support Flight. It is an AFRC unit under the 944th Fighter Wing stationed at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.