Saturday, July 18, 2015

Malmstrom helicopter squadron recognized for 408th rescue

GREAT FALLS - A UH-1N Huey helicopter crew assigned to the 40th Helicopter Squadron at Malmstrom Air Force Base is being recognized for their 408th rescue over the Independence Day weekend.

Around midnight on July 5 the crew found out they would be rescuing an injured hiker in Wyoming. 

Captain Matthew Finnegan, the pilot, has only been assigned to Malmstrom for 11 months. "Everyone just kind of spun into action, as soon as we got the call,” Finnegan said.

The aircrew consisted of two pilots: Finnegan and Major Jeffery Miser, two special mission aviators: Staff Sergeant Ryan Oliver and Staff Sergeant Daniel Marchick, and one flight surgeon: Captain Melonie Parmley.

Captain Parmley said they don’t always have a lot of information when going on a rescue.

"In this case, there was a teacher who was teaching a class in the area and he had a bunch of students there. One of his students was injured so he was the one that called in,” Parmley said.

After a few stops for re-fueling, the five-person crew arrived on scene. SSgt Oliver said that is when they realized the altitude would be a problem.

"Due to the altitude and how high the patient was, we had a lot of weight issues so we had to basically land somewhere and get rid of one of the flight engines," Oliver said.

After they were done unloading some of the equipment off the helicopter, the group headed back to the scene and used a hoist to get their flight surgeon on the ground.

"I'll go check the participant out and see what they need medically and how we can transport them back into the helicopter,” Parmley said.

At 5:20 in the morning, the injured woman was lifted out of the Rocky Big Horn Range and flown to Sheridan.

"It just felt good to be able to be a part of that and help her. That's what we are concerned about the most and we ended up getting her in the right hands,” Oliver said.

The 40th Helicopter Squadron has agreements with the different search and rescues groups across the region to be called out to help during search and rescues.

"A lot of the civilian assets out there don't have the hoist capabilities, so like the medevac helicopter, they can land in a field and pick people up, but not necessarily on the side of a mountain,” Finnegan said.

The 40th Helicopter Squadron is the only helicopter in the state of Montana that has the hoisting capabilities.

"So that's what makes us special and unique for Montana and the surrounding states,” Oliver said.

For two of the crew members this was their first rescue mission.

"It was awesome. The adrenaline was pumping all night doing this. And you finally get her on board to safety. That's just a great feeling,” Finnegan said. 

Story, video and photo:

No comments:

Post a Comment