Fairchild's 36th Rescue Flight rescues mountain biker in Idaho


Verified SOF
Aug 18, 2007
San Antonio Texas

You can see a pic at the link.


8/19/2011 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. (AFNS) -- Airmen from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., rescued a 52-year-old female mountain biker Aug. 17 near Thompson Pass, Idaho, after she flipped over her handlebars and injured her ribs and back.

The victim, Paulette Kirby, was on a single-track mountain bike trail participating in the six-day Idaho Expedition Race when she hit a rock and lost control. She was on the side of a mountain with high terrain on all sides, unreachable by car or all-terrain vehicle.

Four Airmen from the 36th Rescue Flight responded to the call from the Shoshone County, Idaho, sheriff's office in a UH-1N Iroquois helicopter.

Once they arrived in the area, the sheriff's department staff had to use signal mirrors to maneuver the crew to the exact location of the scene due to the dense tree growth. During their approach, winds became an issue, so it wasn't until their third approach that they were successfully hovering over the victim.

Tech. Sgt. Steven Perez, the flight engineer, then lowered independent duty medical technician Tech. Sgt. Joseph Brownell 240 feet down to the victim.

"Because of the extent of her injuries, she was unable to lie flat in the Stokes litter, so I had the crew lower a Kendrick Extrication Device," Brownell said. "A KED is a semi-rigid brace that secures the head, neck and torso in an anatomically neutral position. It helped to reduce the possibility of additional injuries to her during extrication. I then put a C-collar and the KED on her and loaded her onto the Stokes. "

Brownell then called "ready for pickup" and notified the rest of the crew that they moved the survivor 20 meters away to a spot that was slightly more open for safer and easier extrication.

Capt. Jennifer Golembiewski, the aircraft commander, then flew an approach to the top of the mountain and back down searching for the new spot. She had no references at the new spot, so she passed the controls to her co-pilot, Capt. John Alsbrooks, who guided the helicopter to the new spot.

Once again overhead, Perez lowered the hook down to Brownell, who in turn hooked up Kirby. She was hoisted to the aircraft where several variables forced Perez, who is afraid of heights, to climb out onto the skids to retrieve her and secure her in the aircraft. Brownell was then hoisted and they flew Kirby to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., for treatment.

On his "20th or so rescue," Perez said he feels good about their efforts.

"This was the first time I have had to go out onto the skids of the aircraft -- and hopefully the last," Perez said. "Although challenging, this rescue, like the others, always brings me a good feeling. I'm glad we were able to help her get out of there and to the hospital where she could be treated for her injuries."

On her second rescue mission, Golembiewski said she's proud of her crew and more than happy to help out those in need.

"It's very rewarding to know that I had a small part in saving her life," Golembiewski said. "We hope that we're never needed, but are always ready to help when asked. I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility toward guarding and saving the lives of the people of our community."

Now recovering at the hospital with her injuries (two fractured ribs, two spinal fractures and a fractured sternum), Kirby is thankful to the Fairchild Airmen.

"I'm so glad they were there to help me through this experience," she said. "They are very good at what they do. It was amazing they were able to get me through that small opening at the top of the trees and up into the helicopter. It's the simple things in life that touch me; the medic who was helping me blocked the sun from my eyes with his hand the whole way to the hospital. That meant a lot to me -- this I will never forget."

On Aug. 9, the 36th Rescue Flight was involved in another rescue of an Airman who was in training at Colville National Forest, Wash. This most recent rescue was their 663rd.

IDMT's are special operations now?:confused:
I was assigned to the 1st SOW as an IDMT from '88-'93, as an enabler, not an Operator. A butt-load of IDMTs currently assigned to AFSOC.
BTW, good work folks!