Saturday, November 23, 2013

Save Combat Rescue

The Sikorsky HH-60G - Pave Hawk Helicopters were designated as Air Force Search and Rescue officially in 1991.  The initial design of these HELOs was in 1981 - replacing the HH-3E Jolly Green Giant  with the UH-60A Black Hawk.  The Jolly Green Giant was used during the Vietnam era for Combat Search and Rescue (CSR) - thus the Air Force was allocated a number of the new Black Hawks for modifications for CSR.  Doing what they do best, the Air Force made modifications to the fueling system, and upgraded the machine guns to an M60.  82 of these modified HELOs were given to CSR, Air Force Special Operations, again in 1991.

The Pave Hawks are out of date...  on 22 October 2012 the Air Force put in a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH).  The mission of the CRH will remain the same; search and recover personnel in hostile and isolated territories.  Humanitarian missions, civil search and rescue, disaster relief, casualty and medical evacuations and non-combative medical evacuations will also be continued and considered apart of their missions.  The requirements for the CRH are as follows:

combat radius of 416 km
payload of 1,500 lbs
space for up to 4 stretchers

A request of 112 CRHs was requested, and proposals were submitted. Sikorsky is the only bidder to remain, with Lockhead Martin as a subcontractor.  This is a $6.8 billion dollar contract that has been delayed until the first quarter of 2014 FY, which begins October of 2013.  The new CSR would be known as the "CRH-60".

Government furlough, and in response to sequestration budget cuts require the Air Force's FY 2015 budget proposal to cut out the funding for this much needed new helicopter.

Okay... I hear you $6.8 BILLION DOLLARS???!!!!  Are you crazy??!!!  That's a lot of money.  I know that.  But can you really put a price on a life?  I'm sorry I meant to say 100, no 1,000's of lives that are saved during the missions that take place with the CRH.

Most civilians don't understand the impact of what Combat Search and Rescue (CSR) is and does.  In a nut shell, they bring our men and women in combat home - NO MAN LEFT BEHIND.  They risk their own lives with each mission, evacuation, rescue they go on, for the life of another.  Their motto "That Others May Live" is meant and in bedded deep in their souls.  The men who make up CSR are truly the unsung heroes of our military, little to no glory given or asked for.

Scenario for you:  you are driving in a convoy in Afghanistan... your vehicle is hit with a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG), you have insurgents coming down upon you and your trapped inside your vehicle with multiple injuries.  I hate to tell you this, but your local fire department or ambulance is not on its way.  Their will be no sounds of emergency crew sirens heading your way.  What you will hear is the "whoop whoop" of the Pave Hawk, what you will see is a Pararescue Jumper (PJ) leaning over you, risking his life to extract you from the mangled machine that was once your vehicle.  It's the PJ that will get you to the Pave Hawk and the CSR team that will get you back to base - fighting to keep you alive so you can go home to your loved ones.

Your loved ones - your mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, children, friends...  they are waiting day by day praying for your safe return.  They sit home shivering watching the news knowing that they may get that knock on the door, that call, that what they just viewed may have to do with you. The fear is real, the fear of knowing we may never see you again...

$6.8 billion dollars to bring you home....and all those after you.  Who can put a price on that?

Go to http://savecombatrescue.org/ to show your support.  Click on the tab "Take Action"  - a letter has already been written showing your support, you simply put your name, e-mail address at the bottom and hit "Submit".  Then, SHARE on Facebook, Twitter, Google+  let everyone know.  The more support the better.

For additional support of the Rescue Community visit : http://thatothersmaylive.org/  a non-profit organization helping the families of fallen Rescue Personnel.

Thank you, and God Bless You, our Military, and God Bless America!