Civil Air Patrol

AFRCC Awards Find for Gila County SAR Mission

Air Force Rescue Coordination Center awarded Civil Air Patrol’s AZ Wing a Find for yesterday’s mission. CAP air and ground teams assisted Gila County Sheriff’s Office by providing communications relay to four members of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team who were cut off by high water in the rugged Verde River canyon and unable to return to their base. A CAP aircraft orbited overhead, while two ground teams were stationed on the peak of Humboldt Mountain, providing active communications support. A Yavapai County Sheriff’s helicopter extracted the SAR team members, who were searching for a missing hiker.

Find ribbons go to:

Aircrew: Maj Russ Miller, mission pilot; Capt Gordon Helm, mission observer

Ground Team 1: Lt. Col. Rob Pinckard, Lt. Col. Jim Oliver, 1st Lt. Colter Lane, C/Capt. Hunter O’Brien

Ground Team 2: Capt. Klara Olcott, 2nd Lt. Ben Hirsch, and C/MSgt Matt Hirsch

Arizona Wing Commander Col. Martha Morris congratulated the team members for a successful mission. “Our air and ground teams were able to establish communications that were critical to the success of this mission,” Morris said.

Sgt. Dennis Newman of the Gila County Sheriff’s Office said, “It was a great relief when we heard the first radio contact between the CAP airplane and our people on the ground. CAP solved a big problem for us, but we still have to go back out tomorrow to continue looking for the missing hiker.”

UPDATE: Feb. 21 — The missing hiker, a 47-year-old engineer with Intel, was found alive on Fossil Creek Road by Gila County Sheriff’s Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Unit.

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