Alaska Air National Guard rescue squadron to deploy to Africa
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Approximately 20 members of the Alaska Air National Guard’s 212th Rescue Squadron, along with support personnel from the 176th Operations Group, are scheduled to deploy Tuesday to the Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
These 20 will swap out with the approximately 25 Alaska Guardsmen who have been conducting the mission there since May.
The 212th Rescue Squadron, Guardian Angels as they are called, are highly-trained medical personnel made up of pararescuemen, combat rescue officers and survival, evasion, resistance, escape specialists who conduct high-risk rescue missions. The Guardsmen's main mission will be personnel recovery in support of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa mission, while they are also involved in the rest of the CJTF-HOA mission: supporting partner nation military operations in East Africa to defeat extremist organizations and conducting focused military-to-military engagement to strengthen East African partner nation militaries.
"The mission is going well,” said Maj. Matthew Komatsu, 212th Rescue Squadron director of operations. “It’s a big change in pace from our previous combat deployments to Afghanistan, but it allows us partner with host nations across Africa and work on engagement collaborations.”
The Alaska Air Guardsmen will be deployed for about two to three months and should return by early October.
The last 212th Rescue Squadron deployment was to Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, from June to September 2012.
Later this winter, the other squadrons of the Alaska Air National Guard rescue triad – the 210th and 211th Rescue Squadrons – will also deploy overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.