Jul 14, 2017

Preparing to dive into the ocean
(© U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Mark Borosch)
The United States Air Force sprang into action recently when the sailboat of a German father and son caught fire off the coast of Florida. Air Force citizen reservists, aided by the US Coast Guard, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and a commercial freighter in the area, worked overnight from July 7 to 8 to rescue the two men and transport them to a hospital in Orlando. The operation, 500 nautical miles off the coast, even required air refueling support.

In all some 80 reservist airmen and four aircraft assigned to the 920th Rescue Wing, based in Brevard County, executed the rescue mission, according to the 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs. The unit even dispatched a team member who spoke fluent German to aid with translation.

Maj. Chris Ferrara operates an HC-130P/N “King” fixed-wing combat rescue aircraft
(© U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Mark Borosch)
Ambassador Peter Wittig expressed his thanks for the rescue of the two German citizens in a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson:

“On behalf of the German government, I would like to express my deep gratitude to you and the U.S. Air Force for rescuing two German citizens in distress at sea on July 8, 2017, after their vessel sank off the coast of Florida. Through the exemplary deployment of US airmen and equipment, the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick AFB, FL, was able to rescue the two yachtsmen [names redacted] in distress 500 miles from land. Your rescue forces performed a remarkable feat, thus adding yet another, especially impressive act to the countless examples of friendship between our two nations.”

Col. Kurt Matthews, the 920th Rescue Wing commander called the mission a culmination of skill and teamwork. “The specific capability with our Guardian Angel Airmen, combined with our air refueling and extended-range airlift makes us uniquely able to accomplish this mission where few others in the world can. I’m very humbled and glad to be a part of this noble mission.”

© Germany.info

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