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563rd RQG Airmen provide lifesaving rescue

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Alex Miller
  • 355th Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 563d Rescue Group, 355th Wing, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, saved a Filipino national suffering from a ruptured appendix and sepsis onboard a cruise ship off of the California Pacific Coast, Nov. 15, 2022.

The 563d RQG received the distress notification on the evening of Nov. 14. In preparation of the mission, 55th Rescue Generation Squadron maintainers responded to the short-notice task and generated two HH-60G Pave Hawks, assigned to the 55th Rescue Squadron, safe for flight the same night.

"Our goal is to generate mission ready aircraft at all times, day or night," said Staff Sgt. Colby Cantrell 55th RGS flying crew chief. "The way our team responds to real world situations is a direct reflection of our readiness and dedication to the mission from the top down."

The rescue and maintenance teams landed at Naval Air Station North Island, California, shortly after the launch and awaited rested flying crews before executing the rescue mission the next morning.

This is where the 79th Rescue Squadron played a vital role in the mission. They flew two HC-130 Combat King IIs early morning the day of the rescue, landing at NAS North Island with the rested crew. When the assignment began, they also provided aerial refueling to the Pave Hawks during the mission over the Pacific.

“I’m proud of the work our rescue Airmen do,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jose Cabrera, 563d RQG commander. “The lives of those in need depend on it, and this is the mission we are here to do. We make sure someone’s worst day isn’t their last.”

The patient was successfully rescued and then transferred to Scripps Hospital in San Diego for mission conclusion where he received care.

"The successful execution of this mission would not have been possible without the help from every part of the team, " said Capt. Avery Eckebrecht, 55th RQS HH-60G pilot. "At the end of the day, it is about the team working together safely and efficiently to give the patient the best chance of survival."

This undertaking demonstrated one of the ways Davis-Monthan’s culture of readiness and problem-solving skills can support the greater joint force, our mission partners and local communities.