JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — The Alaska Army National Guard rescued a distressed person from the Main Bay Hatchery 20 miles southwest of Whittier Jan. 17.
The Alaska Rescue Coordination Center received a mission support request for a medevac from the Alaska State Troopers, who were not able to attempt the rescue due to bad weather.
According to the AKRCC, the landing site at the bay wasn’t large enough to accommodate the HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. Lt. Col. Christy Brewer, AKRCC director, said Alaska Air and Army Guardsmen train and prepare for these types of situations.
“You go out with a plan in mind, but you don’t have all the details,” said Brewer. “Once you are on scene, that plan almost always changes when you get more factual data.”
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bradley Jorgensen, Detachment 1, Gulf Company, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion, pilot in command of the mission, said that his team — a co-pilot, flight medic and hoist operator — launched within one hour of getting the call.
“We went in thinking we were going to land but were prepped and ready to execute the hoist,” said Jorgensen.
On scene, the flight medic, Spc. Matthew Tucker, secured the patient in an air rescue vest and worked with Staff Sgt. Sonny Cooper, crew chief and hoist operator, to ascend 110 feet into the helicopter. Tucker then monitored the patient during transport to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.
For this rescue mission, the AKRCC and 2-211th GSAB received credit for one save.