Alaska Air Guardsmen deploy to Horn of Africa for four months

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. N. Alicia Halla
  • 176 WG/PA
About 25 pararescuemen and support personnel from the 212th Rescue Squadron, 176th Operations Group and 168th Security Forces Squadron deployed from here last night to the Africa Command area of operations, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Guardsmen's main mission will be personnel recovery in support of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa mission, and there is potential to be involved in the rest of the CJTF-HOA mission: supporting partner nation military operations in East Africa to defeat extremist organizations and conducting focused military-to-military engagement to strengthen East African partner nation militaries.

"We're really excited to go to the Horn of Africa," said Maj. Matthew Kirby, logistics officer and mission commander of the deploying detachment. "There's a lot of operational mindset and experience with this group. We're excited to get over there and make a difference."

This deployment allows 212 RQS personnel to perform search and rescue in a different environment than where they normally deploy. Exercising different mission sets within personnel recovery enables the pararescuemen to remain well-rounded and on top of their game.

Many of the deployers will remain in Africa on a 60-day rotation. All members are scheduled to return by the end of September.

The last 212 RQS deployment was to Camp Bastion, Afghanistan from June to September of 2012.