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Florida Reservists deploy for Georgia to provide hurricane relief

Reserve Citizen Airmen launch three HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters as part of a contingent of approximately 140 Reservists from the 920th Rescue Wing deploying to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia to exercise their hurricane relief capabilities. If the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Air Combat Command gives the order to provide disaster relief following Hurricane Florence’s devastating effects to the east coast, the 920th will be ready to help. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan)

Reserve Citizen Airmen launch four HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters Sept. 12, 2018, as part of a contingent of approximately 140 Reservists from the 920th Rescue Wing deploying to Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The Reserve Airmen will pre-stage to provide relief capabilities following Hurricane Florence. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kelly Goonan)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- Approximately 140 Reserve Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing deployed to Georgia Sept. 13, to provide hurricane relief.


Wing Airmen launched four HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and two combat-search-and-rescue King HC-130P/N aerial refueling aircraft to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia to pre-stage for relief operations. A C-17 Globemaster will transport the rest of the rescue equipment and personnel from Patrick AFB to Moody AFB.


“We train constantly for situations like this. Our Airmen are highly specialized and have the ability to utilize their expert combat life-saving skills and aircraft to provide relief and rescue,” said Col. Kurt Matthews, 920th RQW commander, who flew disaster relief missions during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 which led to 1,043 lives saved.


In September 2017, the wing deployed to Texas and flew disaster relief missions in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey saving 235 people, 21 dogs and five cats.


The rescue team includes combat-rescue aircrew, maintenance and support personnel, as well as Guardian Angel Rescue Teams consisting of pararescuemen, combat rescue officers and a survival evasion resistance escape specialists. Among their proficiencies include trauma medicine, swiftwater rescue and nighttime hoist operations which will allow the team to operate a 24-hours a day.


“Its times like these we can't thank the civilian employers of our Reservists enough for the sacrifices they make to allow Reserve Citizen Airmen time off to support potential crisis situations. Air Force Reservists and their civilian employers are integral part of our national defense,” said Matthews.


The Wing has a 50-year history of saving lives, and its Airmen have rescued more than 3,000 personnel in peacetime and in combat.