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Alaska Guardsmen Save 167 Lives in 2008

American Forces Press Service

CAMP DENALI, Alaska, Jan. 8, 2009 – The men and women of the Alaska National Guard are credited with saving 167 lives in Alaska and around the world in 2008.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
A pararescueman from the Alaska Air National Guard's 212th Rescue Squadron conducts fast-rope-insertion training while deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, May 5, 2008. Members of the Alaska Air National Guard deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 and were credited with saving 72 lives there. Alaska National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Tim O'Brien

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The Alaska Guard was awarded 79 “saves” and 10 “assists” in Alaska, in addition to 72 saves in Afghanistan and 16 on the Gulf Coast while providing hurricane-related support to Texas and Louisiana, officials said. A save is credited when Guardsmen rescue a person who likely would not have survived otherwise, officials said.

"Members from the Alaska National Guard were called on for their skills in Afghanistan, the Gulf Coast and here in Alaska because they are recognized for their professionalism and expertise in search and rescue," Air Force Maj. Gen. Craig E. Campbell, Alaska’s adjutant general, said.

Alaska National Guardsmen support search and rescue year-round in Alaska, with September reportedly the busiest month for search and rescue missions in the state. The Alaska Guard was credited with 20 saves in September, three times the number of saves recorded in September 2007, officials said.

"We were literally busy almost every day with something going on," Air Force Maj. Guy Hayes, public affairs officer, said.

In addition to performing day-to-day support in Alaska, Guardsmen from the 176th Wing’s 210th, 211th and 212th rescue squadrons at Kulis Air National Guard Base deployed to multiple locations in 2008.

In January, Guardsmen deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, to support combat search and rescue missions in the global war on terrorism. During their six-month deployment, Alaska Guardsmen were credited with saving 72 lives, officials said.

In early September, Guard members were deployed under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a program that allows Guard units to mobilize upon request to render assistance to other states. Supporting search and rescue efforts in Louisiana and Texas, Guardsmen were awarded 16 saves during hurricanes Gustav, Hannah and Ike.

The 11th Rescue Coordination Center, the sole Alaska representative responsible for all aeronautical search and rescue cases in Alaska, released its end-of-year statistics Dec 31.

(From an Alaska National Guard news release.)

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Related Sites:
Alaska Army National Guard
Alaska Air National Guard

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