Guardsmen airlift critical equipment to Farallon NWR
MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. – California National Guardsmen from the 129th Rescue Wing assisted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Feb. 17 and 18 by transporting critically needed facility batteries to the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge.
Two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters and aircrews were part of the operation to transport 48 photovoltaic batteries, each weighing 300 pounds, for the Fish and Wildlife Service.
“The Fish and Wildlife Service was having trouble getting a vehicle to make the swap,” said Maj. Rhys Hunt, 129th Rescue Squadron operations officer. The 129th coordinated with the agency and managed to fit the missions into the flight schedule.
After the new batteries were delivered to the Farallon Islands, the used batteries were dropped off on Treasure Island near San Francisco for proper disposal. In total the helicopters transported more than 14,000 pounds of batteries to power the lighthouse and Fish and Wildlife Service research facility workshop.
“The 129th excels when performing operations like this one … a mission that required some out-of-the-box thinking and took us out of our normal training mode,” Maj. Hunt added.
As an Air National Guard unit, many of the 129th's past missions involved responding to state emergencies that included earthquakes, fires and floods. Equipped with MC-130P Combat Shadow tankers and HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, the 129th has performed a wide variety of civilian search-and-rescue missions, including distressed persons aboard ships, lost or injured hikers, and medical evacuations. The total number of people saved by the unit is 599.
Video footage of the operation will be made available at www.129rqw.ang.af.mil and www.youtube.com/129thRescueWing. Please contact Capt. Alyson Teeter at 650-793-1749 for more information.