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Air Force officials activate rescue squadron at Camp Bastion

by Senior Airman Nancy Hooks
451st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

4/28/2010 - Camp Bastion, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- The 79th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron was officially activated during a ceremony April 22 at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan.

Lt. Col. Mike Hinsch assumed command of the unit from Col. John Cherrey, 451st Expeditionary Operations Group commander, who officiated the ceremony. The search and rescue mission unit is assigned to the 451st EOG, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Colonel Hinsch is deployed to the unit from Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz..

"We are here to show Afghanistan America's genuine attempt to try to help them as a nation," said Colonel Hinsch.

The unit arrived March 29 and began operations April 8.

The mission of the 79th ERQS is to save lives by moving patients to a high level of care the fastest way possible, said Colonel Hinsch. "Helmand Province is the busiest spot right now in Afghanistan. Being here puts us right where they need us," he said.

The 79th ERQS is home of the HC-130P King aircraft. More than 80 aircrew members, maintainers and pararescuemen are assigned to the unit along with two aircraft as a fixed wing platform, the aircraft is used for personnel recovery, medical evacuation, casualty evacuation and aero-medical evacuation when rotary wing assets are unable to respond.

Since March 29, the unit has garnered five saves and 11 more assists.

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