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    Finance Airman earns Aerial Achievement Medal

    Achievement Award for Master Sgt. Hong Zhou

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Duane Ramos | U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Hong Zhou, a budget analyst with the 129th Comptroller...... read more read more

    MOFFETT AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

    04.03.2022

    Story by Staff Sgt. Crystal Housman 

    129th Rescue Wing

    by Staff Sgt. Crystal Housman
    129th Rescue Wing Public Affairs

    MOFFETT AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Calif. – A 129th Rescue Wing budget analyst earned recognition, April 2, for the critical role she played during multiple long-range overwater rescue missions during the past decade.

    “It’s not every day you present an Aerial Achievement Medal to someone in finance,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jeffrey Waldman, wing commander, while presenting the medal to Master Sgt. Hong Zhou, of the 129th Comptroller Flight, for her service between March 2012 and August 2020.

    The California Air National Guard wing has called upon Zhou twice to leverage her Mandarin language skills as an impromptu aircrew member providing airborne language translation between the wing’s pararescue operations and crew members of civilian ships thousands of miles off the coast of California.

    In March 2012, parerescuemen from the wing jumped from the back of a C-130 to reach sailors with severe burns aboard the fishing vessel Fu Yuan Yu in the Pacific Ocean 1,100 miles off the coast of Mexico.

    Zhou provided critical translation services during the dangerous link-up procedures between the pararescue team and the ship’s crew members members, who did not speak English. Once over the ship, Zhou used line-of-sight radios to confirm the patient status, and asked the ship’s crew to turn off the ship propellers and deploy boarding ladders for the parerescuemen while confirming approval for them to board the vessel.

    In August 2020, the wing called upon Zhou again during the rescue of a critically-injured sailor aboard the Ocean Applaud cargo ship. Zhou delivered a calm translation between English and Mandarin to relay mission information and operational directives during another save.

    As a budget analyst, Zhou had no flight training or experience before the missions. Nonetheless, she volunteered for the no-notice missions without hesitation.

    “Every rescue is a pickup game,” Waldman said. “We are frequently working with imperfect information and we need to use every resource we have.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 04.03.2022
    Date Posted: 04.04.2022 13:27
    Story ID: 417748
    Location: MOFFETT AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, CALIFORNIA, US

    Web Views: 691
    Downloads: 1

    PUBLIC DOMAIN