Refueling readiness/partnership support across the Pacific coast

  • Published
  • By Rossi D. Pedroza
  • 940th Air Refueling Wing

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 940th Air Refueling Wing, 314th Air Refueling Squadron departed at 2 p.m. August 26 to provide aircraft refueling to support a joint mission. A Chinese sailor was seriously injured on the Hong Kong flagship, Ocean Applaud, located just over 1,000 miles west of the California coast.

The Coast Guard 11 District in Alameda, requested rescue support from the Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing based Moffett Federal Airfield; who contacted the 314th ARS. The crew, ready in less than three hours, launched a KC-135 for air refueling support.

The mission was to provide urgent care to the foreign sailor due for injuries sustained from an estimated 30-foot fall on board the bulk carrier en route from Japan to Stockton.

Also included in the joint effort was a 129th RQW HC-130J aircraft carrying a Guardian Angel team of seven para-rescue jumpers. Once the PJ’s made their jump and boarded the Ocean Applaud vessel, they made initial contact with the patient around 7 a.m. the following day.

“The eagerness of the Air Force Reserve team to not only support but move quickly to get a crew and aircraft lined up really gave us the capability to execute,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Nance, 129th Rescue Squadron commander. “Knowing we had the capability to extend the HC-130J for some time, to loiter and support our GA team with the assistance of your crew greatly reduced the risk of the mission.”

The 55th Rescue Squadron Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force, Arizona launched two HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters to support exfiltration of the GA team, and transported the patient to Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto. Injuries were described as having multiple fractures, but they were in stable condition.

Working together as a true total force, the U.S Coast Guard, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve are prepared and ready to answer the call when search and rescue operations are required to help save lives.