US Soldiers Brave Adverse Conditions to Rescue Injured Teens in Alaska

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  • US Soldiers Brave Adverse Conditions to Rescue Injured Teens in Alaska

    Three teenagers in Chalkyitsik, Alaska, needed immediate medical attention after being injured in a snowmachine accident on October 31. Soldiers from Charlie Company, 1-52 General Support Aviation Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade successfully completed a daring mission to rescue them.

    The Arctic Dustoff aeromedical evacuation team was sent for the rescue mission after a call was made to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center. Army medical evacuation team commanded by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Johnathan Horvath took off from Fort Wainwright's Ladd Army Airfield at 11:22 p.m. despite poor weather and visibility.

    After crossing the White Mountains, the crew encountered limited visibility and a mixture of precipitation. Still, they persisted and landed at the Chalkyitsik airstrip at 1:00 a.m. so the wounded adolescents could be evacuated. Horvath recognized the problems, noting, "Here in Alaska, more often than not, there is some type of complication during MEDEVAC calls; this mission was no different."

    The crew and multiple air traffic control facilities coordinated flawlessly to get the patients where they needed to be on time and without incident. When they arrived at Chalkyitsik airstrip, the flight paramedic, Staff Sgt. Joseph Uribe evaluated the teens' health before putting them aboard the helicopter to take them to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.

    The importance of communication was emphasized by Uribe, who said, "Each mission we launch on comes with its own set of challenges, but thanks to the coordination between Sgt. Perez, our pilots, and myself, we were able to optimize patient treatment and ensure the patients were cared for until they could be transferred to a higher role of care."

    At 2:51 p.m., the helicopter crew landed safely, and the youngsters were transferred to waiting ambulances. Major Jeff Crook, head of the Charlie Company, was impressed with the Army's rescue team's professionalism and resolve. He said, “We at Arctic Dustoff continuously work on improving our medical and flight capabilities for this very purpose. I am proud of our ability to assist the citizens of the state of Alaska on their worst days and proud of our flight crews for their dedication to the same.”

    The Army's dedication to giving vital aid under trying circumstances was on display throughout the successful rescue effort. The wounded youngsters were able to get the care they needed quickly due to the swift reaction and strong coordination among the team members.

    Ultimately, the lives of people in need will benefit from the soldiers' unwavering commitment to their task, which reflects the continuous efforts to improve skills and preparation for such emergency circumstances.

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