TUCSON, Ariz. - Air Force rescue crews are heroes to other people in the service because they are willing to fly into danger to bring people home safe. This month Davis-Monthan has hosted training to help hundreds of rescuers keep their skills sharp.
If you’re trapped behind enemy lines, sometimes your guardian angel may slide down a rope and lift you to safety.
Or land in the thick of a firefight, hustle you to a helicopter and whisk you away.
Davis-Monthan is home base for rescue units so it’s a natural to host Red Flag Rescue, an exercise to train hundreds of rescue specialists to launch in a matter of minutes when someone needs help.
The Air Force provided video that offers a close up look at the operations.
Lieutenant Colonel Rob Allen of the Air Force’s 414 Combat Training Squadron is leading the training. He says it's critical for morale for troops to know rescue crews will fly into trouble to get them out.
“And so it's important that the military and all the members of it, including joint partners and our allies that we fly and fight with realize that if they become isolated, they have somebody who's going to go to work, work as hard as they possibly can, possibly even give up their own life just to make sure that they can get back to their families, and that's a critical thing for the morale of our troops.”
Training with night vision gear is critical because military operations, and rescues often happen under cover of darkness.
Davis-Monthan’s A-10s play important roles in rescues. Their pilots often coordinate the rescue forces. They’re able to stay in an area longer than most other warplanes to provide communications, and cover.
Director of Operations, Lt. Colonel Matthew Zeigler says, “They have the ability to get up higher to reach contact with the survivor, anyone that has ejected for example. And also, they've got the firepower to back it up too.”
It has been a challenge to complete the training and keep up with COVID precautions but co-ordinators say they have worked to maintain distance as much as they can while they work to keep crews sharp for this lifesaving work.