AF Reservists join effort to rescue missing men
By Maj. Cathleen Snow, 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 28, 2015
PORTAND, Ore. --
Air Force reservists
joined forces with local volunteer search and rescue organizations to rescue two
men who went missing Oct. 25.
The call for help came Oct. 26 from the Clackamas County Sherriff's office requesting
assistance to help locate two men who were overdue by 6 hours after they went
wild mushroom hunting in a remote wilderness area 19 miles east Estacada, 45
miles east of Portland.
Mushroom hunting is a popular activity in the
northwestern United States. Hunters gather highly valued edible mushrooms to
sell to food establishments.
The hunters were last seen at approximately
1 p.m. Sunday by a fellow hunter after the men were separated while attempting
to depart the area because of significant weather moving into the
The hunter that made it out reported the other two as overdue
saying the missing men had no overnight equipment or cold weather gear and
temperatures dipped to just above freezing with rain. As a result, the CCSO
requested assistance from local search and rescue organizations to include the
U.S. Air Force Reserve's 304th Rescue Squadron.
The 304th Rescue
Squadron deployed a 10-person Guardian Angel search and rescue team by ground
which linked up with local volunteer search and rescue organizations to locate
the missing men.
Pacific Northwest volunteers made positive contact with
the missing hunters around 11 a.m. Monday and relayed their condition and
coordinates to the 304th Airmen.
The hunters were extremely hypothermic
and required immediate medical treatment. The 304th RQS along with Washing
County Sherriff's Explorer post 877 and immediately responded to their location
and provided medical treatment.
After medical treatment, the hunters,
with some assistance, were able to walk out with the rescue teams and were
reunited with their family and friends around 4:30 p.m.
Airmen have advanced mountain rescue and medical capabilities. They are experts
at navigating rough and steep-angle terrain, according to Maj. Chris Bernard,
304th Rescue Squadron spokesperson.
"When you are looking for someone in
remote mountainous areas, you don't know where they are going to end up. They
could have fallen off a cliff into ravine and those situations can be very
difficult," said Bernard.
The Guardian Angels are highly trained rescue
specialists consisting of pararescuemen, combat rescue officers and search,
evasion resistance escape (SERE) professionals whose scope and ability goes
beyond U.S. borders to the most remote and challenging of combat environments,
such as Afghanistan, to conduct combat search and rescues for U.S. and allied
The 304th RQS is based at the Portland International airport and
is a geographically separated unit of the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force,
Fla. They are the only members of the military trained to conduct full-spectrum
personnel recovery. They can do everything from parachute from planes to find
downed fighter pilots on cliffs where helicopters cannot land, to providing
advanced trauma care to those wounded in combat.
note: Maj. Chris Bernard is the public affairs representative for the 304th
Rescue Squadron and provided information for this article.