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106th Rescue Wing Conducts Training with Marine Corps Reserve Helicopter Crews

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sarah McKernan
  • 106th Rescue Wing

Airmen of the 101st Rescue Squadron from the New York Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing teamed up with Marine Corp Reserve aviators for a tactical refueling and personnel recovering training exercise at F.S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base on February 2, 2023.

Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773, known as the Red Dogs, is a Marine Corps Reserve squadron headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst in New Jersey. The Marines fly the Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopter and the Bell UH-1Y Venom transport helicopter.

The joint training involved the simulated rescue of a downed pilot, employing a 101st Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter crew, followed by the refueling of the Air Guard helicopter by the Marine Corps Reserve aircraft.

During the rescue phase, known as TRAP for Tactical Recovery of Personnel and Aircraft, a Marine AH-1Z Viper, twin-engine attack helicopter, and UH-1Y Venom, twin-engine utility helicopter, served as escorts while the HH-60G rescued the downed pilot.

After the rescue, the rescue helicopter landed and was refueled by a Marine Corps CH-53 Sea Stallion heavy-lift transport helicopter. This is known as a FARP, for Forward Area Refueling Point, in which one helicopter fuels another to extend the range of the tactical mission.
This capability allows for aircraft to land, refuel, rearm and return to air operations quickly in austere environments.

“The FARP exercise allows us to practice something that’s kind of non-standard for us. Just another option to have overseas for flexibility, getting fuel from another rotary-wing aircraft, potentially at a remote site where otherwise, it may not be possible to accomplish the mission,” said Major Sean Gavin, the 101st Rescue Squadron assistant operations officer.

“The purpose of the training was to integrate with our joint partners,” Gavin said. “It’s not often that we get to work with helicopter rescue escorts, so it’s great to see how their capabilities and strengths can help us to execute the mission a little bit more efficiently and differently than when we work with fixed-wing platforms.”

“TRAP and escort is one of the mission sets that we train to,” said Captain Adam Fischer, the future operations officer of HMLA Squadron 773. “I think everyone got a lot out of it and we all got some good training so I’m glad we were able to come out here and make it happen.”

The 106th Rescue Wing, based at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach, New York, operates and maintains the HC-130J Combat King II search and rescue aircraft, and the HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopter.

The 106th Rescue Wing is home to a special warfare squadron with pararescue men and combat rescue officers, specializing in rescue and recovery, and deploys for domestic and overseas operations.