304th Rescue Squadron Supports Mount Hood Search and Rescue > Air Combat Command > News

An 11-member Guardian Angel team from the 304th Rescue Squadron battled high winds and deep snow to aid in rescue efforts for two injured climbers here March 7.

A multi-team search and rescue mission was conducted in difficult conditions after two climbers fell approximately 200 feet in the Leuthold Couloir area of ​​Mt. Hood.

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center received a request from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office for the 304th RQS to assist in ground recovery in coordination with the Army Air National Guard. Oregon and the U.S. Army Reserve. Rescuers faced deep snow and other difficult conditions, including avalanche conditions with winds blowing between 50 and 70 mph.

“We had the entire squadron in formation in Portland when the call came, so we had the most skilled and experienced Airmen ready for this search and rescue mission. Our special mission personnel benefit from the high altitude, cold weather and medical training we do daily which has prepared us to help,” the 304th RQS team leader said.

All pararescue airmen are nationally certified paramedics. They participate in mountain and industrial rescue courses with an emphasis on learning rigging systems to safely handle rescue loads, personnel and equipment.

“Austere environments are where the PCs are trained to function. High altitude, jungle, desert; we train for every possible scenario, but at the end of the day it’s about helping those in need,” the pararescueman said.

As part of Defense Support to Civil Authorities, the process by which United States military assets and personnel may be used to assist civil authorities during emergencies and other specific events, when a situation requires the skills of a military unit, they can be asked to support, as in this case with the pararescue team.

The 304th RQS is part of the 943rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, a geographically separate unit within the 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick Space Force Base, Florida.

Brandon D. James