Skip to comments.The FReeper Foxhole Profiles The USAF Air Rescue Service - August 22, 2003
Posted on 08/22/2003 2:52:36 AM PDT by snippy_about_it
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Air Rescue Service
Air Rescue Service (ARS) Shield
The blue represents the sky, the golden light--a ray of hope for those in need. The angel symbolizes protection and rescue from danger, while the red robe signifies the valor with which ARS carries out its humanitarian mission.
In March 1946, the Air Rescue Service (ARS) was established under the Air Transport Command to provide rescue coverage for the continental United States. By 1949 ARS aircraft covered the world's transport routes and has served the USAF proudly since its inception. Rescue's worth has been proven time and again--996 combat saves in Korea and 2,780 in Southeast Asia.
During the Korean War, the increased use of helicopters on rescue missions became a dominant factor in saving lives.
By the war's end, ARS crews were credited with the rescue of 9,898 United Nation's personnel; 996 were combat saves.
After the Korean War, the USAF Air Rescue Service (ARS) resumed worldwide operations for rescue coverage and ARS Squadrons flew hundreds of humanitarian relief and rescue missions.
In 1966, the ARS was redesignated as the ARRS (Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service) to reflect its additional role of support for the U.S. space flights.
HU-16 Albatross, a rescue workhorse from the late 1940s to the early 1970s. Rocket units, mountable in flight on the fuselage, could be used to improve take-off performance.
In 1953, ARS adopted the SC-54D, a modified C-54 which could carry four MA-1 droppable rescue kits. Each kit contained a 40-person inflatable life raft that could be dropped more safely than the rigid boats.
Flood victims rescued by a USAF H-21 helicopter crew near Eureka, California (1965).
An HH-3C helicopter assigned to provide emergency recovery and transportation service in the Project Apollo launch area located at then-Patrick AFB, Florida (1967).
Apollo Command Module mock-up used by the 67th ARRS to train for potential emergency rescue missions. Subsequently used as a squadron "sign" at RAF Woodbridge, UK (c. 1981).
B-17E "My Gal Sal"
On Jun. 27, 1942, the pilot of a B-17E named "My Gal Sal" was forced to make a belly-landing on the Greenland icecap while on a flight from the U.S. to England. He made an excellent landing, the only damage to the plane being bent propeller blades.
Once the downed plane had been located, Col. Balchen set out for its location in a PBY amphibian and landed on a lake about 25 miles distant. He and a Sgt. Healy then began walking to the B-17 across treacherous crevasses, snow bridges, drifts, and ice-cold rivers and pits of slush. It took them hours to reach the airplane and its 13 crew members. After a night of rest, Balchen and his companion led the 13 survivors slowly and carefully back to the lake where they boarded the Catalina and took off for Bluie West 8. The rescued men had been marooned for 10 days.
"My Gal Sal" was forgotten until Oct. 1964 when it was rediscovered from the air. It was still in fairly good condition, although the tail had been broken off by the constant movement of ice.
With USAF cooperation, the Society of Automotive Engineers sent a representative to the isolated site by helicopter in 1965 to gather samples of hydraulic fluid, rubber, canvas, and plexiglass materials, and navigational, hydraulic, and aircrew equipment items. These items were desired for laboratory evaluation as to the long-term effects on them by the cold, wet environment of the Arctic. Many significant facts were learned from the evaluation, facts which could be applied to such current military programs as the Titan and Minuteman ballistic missiles being maintained in an operational-readiness status in underground silos.
Tail Section of My Gal Sal as it appeared in 1965.
When My Gal Sal was rediscovered in 1964, the plane was relatively undamaged. By the time the recovery team reached the site a year later, the plane appeared as in this photo--A strong winter wind had blown the forward part onto its back, severely damaging it.
Four items recovered from "My Gal Sal"
Top left - Sextant from "My Gal Sal" which was severely corroded. This corrosion was not due to prolonged exposure of the instrument to the Arctic weather; rather it was caused by the chemical action from the badly decomposed batteries which were in the box with the sextant.
Top center - Bombsight stabilizer unit from the nose of "My Gal Sal." One half inch layer of powdered rust was found inside the unit, indicating that one side of it had been in constant contact was snow or ice.
Top right - Octant from "My Gal Sal" which when examined was found to have fungus growths on it. Cultures were taken and numerous types of fungi were identified. Surprisingly, they were the same types found on equipment returned to the U.S. from tropical areas following WWII.
Bottom - Mess kit from "My Gal Sal." The carbon deposits on the bottom indicate it had been used by the crew for heating food over an open frame sometime during the 10-day period they were marooned.
The Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service peacetime force was not equipped to meet the demands of war in Southeast Asia in the early 1960s. As rescue capability increased during that war, ARRS crews saved 4,120 people--2,780 people in combat situations.
A-7 jets replaced A-1s for rescue escort in November, 1972. An A-7D was flown by Maj. Colin A. Clarke on a successful 9-hour rescue mission for which he received the Air Force Cross as Sandy 01, on-scene commander. About 75 aircraft participated in that search and rescue operation. Clarke's A-7D is displayed in the Museum's Modern Flight Hangar.
Firefighters at Phan Rang AB, South Vietnam, battle a simulated aircraft fire using an HH-43's airborne fire suppression kit plus downdraft from the rotors to open a path for "rescuers" (1970). Designed for base fire and crash rescue, the slow, unarmed "Huskie" was adapted for rescue early in the Vietnam War with the new nickname "Pedro." Its combat radius of only 75 miles was increased with added fuel drums strapped in the cabin and, before the availability of improved rescue helicopters, HH-43s sometimes flew deep into North Vietnam. HH-43s accounted for more lives saved than any other rescue helicopter in the Vietnam War.
The low and slow-flying FAC (forward air controller or "Nail") was a frequent rescue force component who served as on-scene commander until Sandy's arrival, helping locate the downed crewman, marking his location with smoke for the Sandys and pickup helicopter, and directing aircraft ground attacks.
In 1970, OV-10 "Broncos," such as this one at Ubon Air Base, Thailand, began working with search and rescue forces, replacing slower unarmed O-1s and O-2s as FAC aircraft. OV-10s equipped with PAVE NAIL night observation equipment could locate survivors at night or in bad weather and helped development of rescue operations relying more on advanced technology than merely courage, firepower, and tactics.
Lt. Col. Albert Vollmer flew 100 F-105 combat missions in Southeast Asia. He has the dubious distinction of having been shot down and rescued twice.
On January 13, 1965, while attacking a bridge in Laos, he ejected after his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire. The following day, he made radio contact with a civilian Air America (CIA) C-123 which directed an Air America H-34 helicopter to him for the pickup. The H-34 was on a supply mission when it received the emergency call. The H-34 pilot landed in an open field, made all personnel but the winch operator exit the aircraft, then proceeded to make the rescue.
On August 17, 1967, Vollmer's F-105 was damaged by anti-aircraft fire over North Vietnam. He nursed his failing aircraft to the China Sea and ejected, sustaining severe leg injuries. His wingman and two A-1's provided cover during his descent and within 15 minutes, two Jolly Green Giant helicopters (Sikorsky H-3's) arrived to make the rescue.
Vollmer spent the next two years in and out of hospitals, recovering from his injuries, but 26 months after the rescue returned to flying status.
The 37th ARRS crew which rescued Col. Vollmer from the China Sea visited him at the hospital in Da Nang. The crew signed the "business card" (copy described below) which they presented to him on August 18, 1967 and for years he carried it for good luck. (Donated by Lt. Col. Albert C. Vollmer, USAF (Ret). Gahanna, Ohio)
The business card presented to Lt. Col. Vollmer reads:
CONFUSED? FOLLOW THESE STEPS:
Stay with chute/aircraft.
Conserve flares and radio.
Advise others of your position and condition.
Stay calm--others have been rescued under worse conditions than yours.
The bearer of this card, upon being suitably rescued, agrees to provide free cheer at the nearest bar for those making said rescue possible.
37th ARRS, APO 96337
NEED A PICK-ME-UP?
[signed] JOLLY GREEN
On November 20-21, 1970, a joint force composed of USAF Special Operations and rescue personnel and U.S. Army Special Forces, supported by U.S. Navy Carrier Task Force 77, made a daring raid on the Son Tay prison camp located less than 30 miles from Hanoi, North Vietnam. The objective was to rescue as many as 100 U.S. captives thought to be held there.
The assault troops, in six ARRS helicopters accompanied by two C-130 aircraft, flew 400 miles to Son Tay from bases in Thailand. U.S. Navy pilots made a diversionary raid while 116 USAF and Navy aircraft from seven air bases and three aircraft carriers flew refueling, surface-to-air missile suppression, fighter cover, close air support, early warning, communications support and reconnaissance missions. Although no prisoners were found in camp, the raid was a brillant success in transporting, landing and recovering an assault force of 92 USAF and 56 Army personnel without the loss of a single man.
Although no prisoners were rescued, the raid focused world attention on the plight of the prisoners of war (POWs), raised their morale and resulted in improved living conditions for all U.S. prisoners of the North Vietnamese. The men of the Joint Task Force earned the admiration of their countymen for risking their lives in an attempt to bring freedom to others.
In 1983, the ARRS merged with USAF Special Operations and formed the 23rd Air Force.
In 1989, the Air Rescue Service (ARS) was reactivated to include the responsibilities for combat rescue and support of NASA space missions and the Strategic Air Command missile sites, as well as atmospheric sampling for nuclear residue.
MH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter, developed in the late 1980's for special operations missions and combat rescue. It can be tranported by C-5 or C-141 aircraft, refueled in flight, operated at night in bad weather and is equipped with a hoist which can lift a litter patient, or three people at one time, while hovering 250 feet above the ground.
U.S. Air Force photograph b y MSgt. Rose Reynolds
U.S. Air Force MH60-J Pavehawk's onload pararescuemen. MH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters hover in formation as Pararescue Specialists ascend a rope ladder. The MH-60G's primary wartime missions are infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces in day, night or marginal weather conditions. Other missions include combat search and rescue.
6:05 a.m. 160 miles inside Iraq, 30 miles from Baghdad:
Lts. Devon Jones and Larry Slade bail out of their U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat when it is struck by an Iraqi missile.
8:00 a.m. Arar Airfield, Saudi Arabia:
USAF 20th Special Operations Squadron Capt. Tom Trask (pilot), Maj. Mike Homan (co-pilot) and crew take off in dense fog in an MH-53J Pave Low helicopter enroute to the crash site.
8:15 a.m. Iraqi border:
Capt. Trask and Maj. Homan drop their helicopter to a flight altitude of 15 feet to avoid enemy radar and proceed to the crash site.
8:50 a.m. Crash site vicinity, Iraq:
An enemy fighter appears, then retreats when two USAF F-15 Eagles pick the fighter up on their radar. Capt. Trask, Maj. Homan and crew join the search and rescue team and begin their search for Lts. Jones and Slade.
10:30 a.m. Unknown to the team, Lt. Slade is captured. (He is not released until March 4th, 1991)
Arar Airfield, Saudi Arabia:
The MH-53J crew are unable to locate the downed F-14 crew and return to refuel; they fly back to the crash site and resume their search.
1:55 p.m. Crash site vicinity, Iraq:
The helicopter crew make radio contact with Lt. Jones; one of the door gunners spots an enemy truck heading toward Jones.
Two USAF A-10A Thunderbolt IIs, components of the search and rescue team, remain despite critically low fuel and destroy the vehicle.
2:15 p.m. Capt. Trask lands the MH-53J less than 150 yards from the smoldering truck, and a crewman, Sgt. Ben Pennington, helps an exhausted but grateful Lt. Jones into the helicopter.
3:15 p.m. Iraqi border: Capt Trask, Maj. Homan, the crew and Lt. Jones return safely to Saudi Arabia.
(This mission was the first rescue of a downed airman in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.)
Today's classic warship, USS Concord (CL-10)
Omaha class light cruiser
Displacement: 7,050 t.
Speed: 34 k.
Armament: 12 6; 4 3; 10 21 torpedo tubes
The USS CONCORD (CL-10) was launched 15 December 1921 by William Cramp and Sons, Philadelphia, Pa.; sponsored by Miss H. Butterick; and commissioned 3 November 1923, Captain O. G. Murfin in command.
On her maiden cruise, between 23 November 1923 and 9 April 1924, CONCORD called at Mediterranean ports, passed through the Suez Canal to round the Cape of Good Hope, and exercised with the fleet in the Caribbean before returning to Philadelphia. As flagship of Commander, Destroyer Squadrons, Scouting Fleet, she cruised the Caribbean and sailed through the Panama Canal to exercise in the Hawaiian Islands in 1924 and 1925. Continuing to operate in the Atlantic, she joined in the Presidential Fleet Review taken by Calvin Coolidge on 4 June 1927.
Serving as flagship of Commander, Cruiser Division 3, Battle Force, CONCORD cruised the Pacific from her base at San Diego after early 1932, exercising in the Canal Zone and the Caribbean in 1934. She took part in Presidential Fleet Reviews taken by Franklin D. Roosevelt on 30 September 1935 and 12 July 1938, and joined in fleet exercises in the Hawaiian area, in the Canal Zone, and off Alaska. After operating on the east coast in the winter of 1938-39, she returned to Pacific operations, and from 1 April 1940 was based at Pearl Harbor for a training schedule which intensified as war came closer.
When the United States entered the war, CONCORD was at San Diego preparing for a shipyard overhaul which she completed early in February 1942. Assigned to the Southeast Pacific Force, she escorted convoys to Bora Bora in the Society Islands, exercised in the Canal Zone, and cruised along the coast of South America and to the islands of the southeast Pacific, serving from time to time as flagship of her force. Between 5 September and 24 November 1943, she carried Rear Admiral R. E. Byrd on a tour to survey the potential use of a number of southeast Pacific islands in national defense and commercial aviation. During this cruise, she suffered a gasoline explosion which killed 22 men, including her executive officer, and caused considerable damage, which was repaired at Balboa.
With repairs completed in March 1944, CONCORD set sail northward to join the Northern Pacific Force at Adak 2 April. Serving as TF 94's flagship at the beginning of this duty, she joined in bombardments of the Kuriles which continued at intervals until the close of the war, preventing effective use by the Japanese of their bases there. Harassing the northern shipping lanes of Japan, her force sank several small craft, and on 25 August 1944, the destroyers of the force made an attack on a Japanese convoy.
On 31 August 1945, CONCORD stood out from Adak, covered the occupation landings at Ominato, Japan between 8 and 14 September, and sailed on to Pearl Harbor, the Canal Zone, Boston, and Philadelphia, where she was decommissioned 12 December 1945 and sold for scrap 21 January 1947.
CONCORD received one battle star for World War II service.
An Angel?? OH I don't know. this could be a serious infringement of the separation of church and State!! I can only imagine the tramua that could be suffered by an atheist upon seeing this symbol of religion
Quick get the ACLU on the phone, where is the People For the American way, something MUST be done about this immediately
The Republic is in Danger..TO ARMS..MAN THE BARRICADES!!
Once again you peak my curiosity and send me on a research mission for my education...bombardments of the Kuriles.