Rescue: A bittersweet mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Paige Weldon
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

Davis-Monthan’s rescue mission is a global effort and the Airmen of the 58th Rescue Squadron are always prepared to go wherever someone is in need.

Members of the 58th RQS, along with Airmen from other bases, have been deployed to various countries in Africa as part of the 82nd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron where they have performed numerous exercises and missions.

The 82nd ERQS responded to multiple lifesaving rescues throughout 2022. Some of the missions they accomplished are as follows: rescuing a patient in critical condition from a ship, transporting a patient with an eye injury from a ship, providing care to a U.S. Navy SEAL injured by a gunshot, a two day search to recover the remains of a local Djiboutian that drowned in a river, and assisting the Djiboutian Coast Guard in picking up survivors of a sunken Spanish tour boat.

“For me, accomplishing the mission is bittersweet,” said Staff Sgt. Patrick Limage, 58th RQS pararescue journeyman. “If someone needs us, it means they are having, most likely, the worst day of their life.”

Comradery, morale and preparation are essential for accomplishing the rescue operations, especially when deployed.

“We do not have the luxury of knowing exactly what we will be called to do; therefore, we train throughout the year to maintain currencies and ensure the team is fully mission capable,” said Limage. “Whether it’s performing a free fall parachute jump from an aircraft or hoisting from a helicopter, if there is a way, we will find it. We will go to extreme lengths and do everything in our power to bring these members home and reunite them with their family and friends.”

The 82nd ERQS creates a newsletter detailing each month’s rescues, training exercises, morale boosting events while also highlighting Airmen that have been essential to accomplishing those tasks.

The newsletter is distributed to Airmen's home units and family so they can see how their Airmen are performing on deployment, giving them a source to gain a sense of pride, a boost in morale and a way to keep that connection to their loved ones back home.

“As a team, we take pride in always being ready for anything, but what that also means is that everyone on the team has this overwhelming need to get out there and do the mission to justify all the time they have put into preparing for this vocation,” said Limage. “The blood, sweat and tears, the time away from our families, and above all, the sacrifices we have made to be the people that when called upon are prepared to help others – it makes it all worth it in the end.”

All rescue Airmen work tirelessly to live up to the motto, “These things we do, that others may live”. The motto helps Airmen remember that all their sacrifices, time away from family and countless hours spent training is all worth it when they complete those rescues to ensure someone’s worst day is not their last day.