Moody tests search and rescue mission - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Moody tests search and rescue mission

October 8, 2007

Valdosta - Moody Air Force Base is the only active duty combat search and rescue wing in the Air Force.

With thousands of troops still overseas, their unique skills could be needed any time.  "We get isolated personnel whether they be in vehicles or planes that break down in a part of Afghanistan or Iraq and they need to be taken out of that area," says Major Scott "Mouth Petts, a Chief of Weapons on base.

So they participate in large scale training scenarios using many of the search and rescue capabilities on base. In their most recent one, two pilots were shot down in a hostile combat zone. So the A-10's were called in.  "The A-10's came in, sanitized the area and found the survivors that happened to be shot down today."

When the survivors were spotted they called in the pararescuemen or PJ's, who were dropped from more than ten thousand feet from a C-130.

They found the downed airman and called in the rescue helicopters to airlift them out.  "From there the helicopters dropped in the rescue PJ's. From there the A-10's provided cover as the helicopters brought in the rescue PJ's and they ended up taking the survivors out and departed the area," Petts adds.

These airmen wrapped up this scenario in just an hour but say the real thing could take a day. And training missions like these help them prepare for those wartime scenarios.  "So this is yet another place we can do these exercises in case it ever really happens while we are out there. So we are ready for it!"

And after today, they believe they are.

The search and rescue crews will perform this rescue scenario for the public during Moody Air Fest October 20 and 21.