On the evening of Dec. 19, Airmen with the 48th Rescue Squadron and 55th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., performed a real-world rescue mission to save an elderly woman who had fallen while hiking in the mountains.
The 70-year-old hiker, who was visiting from Portal, Ariz., slipped on the loose terrain and sustained a fractured hip. A member of her group hiked to the nearest populated area and called for help. Once the local authorities were notified, the rescue Airmen were called into action.
Staff Sgt. Robert Trubee and Staff Sgt. James Barnard, 48th RQS pararescuemen, worked with an aircrew from the 55th RQS to evacuate the injured woman.
While conducting the rescue mission the crew members met several obstacles including harsh weather conditions, rough terrain and low visibility. They had to rely on their years of experience to successfully evacuate the patient.
"To be in that kind of area, at night, with high winds like that is not something we normally do," said Master Sgt. William Fritsch, 55th RQS operations superintendent. "I think in the five years that I've been doing this it was probably the most challenging mission that I've had, even in combat."
After Trubee and Barnard successfully reached the patient, they applied a splint and performed precautionary procedures to prevent any further injuries.
Once the patient was lifted into the helicopter the crew evacuated her to University Medical Center where she received further medical attention. Thanks to the expertise and swift actions of the crew, they were able to complete a successful evacuation.