Two pararescuemen jumped in blizzard conditions from an HC-130 at night to reach a critically ill patient stranded at a remote Alaskan village. When high winds and blinding snow forced an HH-60 Pave Hawk to abort after trouble refueling from the HC-130, the PJs elected to make the jump. “Within 10 minutes, we are at [low] fuel; a call had to be made,” said SSgt. Dan Warren, a PJ on training assignment from Air Force Reserve Command’s 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, Fla. With the temperature touching minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit, “it was snowing sideways,” he recounted. “I was taking turns closing one eye at a time to thaw the ice,” said Warren. On the ground, he and Alaska Air National Guardsman TSgt. Jeremy Maddamma, stabilized the patient until the weather cleared. Hours later, a ski-equipped ANG HH-60 airlifted the man to a hospital in Anchorage during the February rescue.
(Elmendorf-Richardson report by Capt. Cathleen Snow) (AFA 3/5/12)