Indonesian Air Force visits the 106th Rescue Wing

March 9, 2017 -- GABRESKI AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Westhampton Beach, N.Y.--The New York Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing played host to six Indonesian Air Force general officers who were briefed on the wing's mission and got a look at the wing’s aircraft and equipment, March 8. 

The generals touched down in Westhampton Beach to see what lessons could be learned from the 106th Rescue Wing, explained Major Gen. Dedy Permadi, the Assistant for Personnel to the Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff. 

Because Indonesia is an island nation, their air force has the responsibility for a tremendous amount of coastal search and rescue missions, Permadi said. 

The Indonesians visited the American search and rescue unit because the 106th is responsible for being prepared to handle search and rescue missions for a long coastline and for an extended amount of time, Permadi explained. 

The generals were also interested in how the Pararescuemen, known as PJs for pararescuemen jumpers, were able to use their capabilities both here at home to respond to state emergencies as well as overseas. 

Chief Master Sgt. Michael Hewson explained the two year training the PJs have to endure to get qualified. 

"Their biggest interest was in how the Guard can work for the State or [and] Federal government unlike the active duty Air Force," Hewson said. "They were also very interested in the PJs. Our description and qualifications sounded like Special Operation Forces to them but how we used those qualifications for dedicated rescue in both wartime and peacetime surprised them," he explained. 

"I think it speaks to the importance our nation places on our greatest asset, our people," Hewson added. 

During the tour, the visitors got a firsthand look at the specialized gear, ranging from scuba gear, to cutting tools which the pararescuemen used to maintain their small equipment profile. 

The Indonesian officers also got a chance to tour both aircraft utilized by the 106th Rescue Wing for search and rescue, the HH-60 Pavehawk helicopter and an HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing airplane. They walked around the aircraft and spoke with the 101st and 102nd squadron pilots about their experiences. 

Colonel Michael W. Bank, 106th Rescue Wing commander saw advantages in hosting the international guests. 

"The Airmen of the 106th Rescue Wing were honored to showcase the capabilities of the Search and Rescue community to our Pacific partners. The Air National Guard has the unique ability to leverage rescue mission sets across the spectrum of conflict," Bank said. "We have the ability to search for a missing boater off the coast, to extracting a downed Airmen in combat and everything in between. We highlighted the command relationships required to bring this capability to the fight to the Indonesian Air Force and there is no better example than the ANG." Bank explained.