Reserve airmen with the 920th Rescue Wing out of Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, have deployed to Georgia to provide emergency rescue assistance for Hurricane Florence.
The squadron launched four HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and two HC-130 King aerial refueling combat-rescue aircraft Wednesday as part of a contingent of approximately 140 reservists from the 920th RQW deploying to Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, to provide their hurricane relief capabilities, according to a news release from the wing.
Fueled by warm Atlantic waters, Hurricane Florence is about 1,200 miles east-southeast of Cape Fear, N.C., and intensifying into a potentially devastating storm.
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. Their proficiencies include trauma medicine, swift-water rescue and nighttime hoist operations, which will allow the team to operate around the clock.
They will be standing by if the Federal Emergency Management Agency or Air Combat Command gives the order to provide disaster relief.
“We train constantly for situations like this. Our airmen our 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, 920 RQW commander, in the release. Matthews flew disaster relief missions during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 which led to 1,043 lives being saved.