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    1-111th GSAB flight crew assists with rescue/recovery mission in Florida Keys

    TAG, Lt. Gov. tour FLANG air support facilities in FL Keys

    Photo By Sgt. Neysa Huertas Quinones | A UH-60 Black Hawk with the Florida Army National Guard prepares for a surveillance...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Neysa Huertas Quinones 

    107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    KEY WEST, Fla. - Four soldiers from the Florida Army National Guard answered the call of duty as they assisted in the successful recovery of two missing jet-ski operators off the coast of the Florida Keys on March 28, 2024.

    The soldiers, part of the 1-111th General Support Aviation Battalion (GSAB) Charlie Company air crew, played a critical role in the safe retrieval of a father and his 13-year-old daughter late that afternoon. Capt. Roberto Telleria, W-1 Rebecca Verran, Sgt. Justin Winegardner, and Spc. Brendeen Gonzalez demonstrated their commitment to service as they diligently searched for the missing personnel until their retrieval.

    “I joined the National Guard because we help the communities,” said Verran. “I grew up knowing that during hurricanes, the National Guard was a local asset that came in to assist and provide aid to the community in times of need. For me, it's about helping Florida, where I grew up.”

    The air crew received the call requesting aerial support shortly after embarking on their scheduled evening surveillance flight. The team swiftly adjusted course to aid in search and rescue efforts alongside U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) assets.

    “We are prepared to handle any scenario,” said Gonzalez. “Whatever is thrown at us, we are ready for. We had all the equipment necessary to take on the task and even though this isn't considered a typical day for us, it does not change our ability to respond.”

    The 1-111th UH-60 Black Hawk air crew was able to locate the second jet-ski and calculate the path the passenger would have drifted away in. The coordinates were then relayed to FWC crew patrolling the area with rescue boats while FLARNG remained on site to provide coverage.

    “As a crew, we collectively agreed we would do everything possible within the limitations of our aircraft to provide that air support,” said Verran. “With our aircraft, we are limited to approximately two hours of operational flight time. We were able to provide that air support as well as cover down until the U.S. Coast Guard air assets arrived on scene after fueling.”

    Air crew received positive confirmation from FWC of the girls retrieval before concluding their support efforts. The Soldiers covered over 100 nautical miles during their two hour search for the missing daughter. Rescue teams estimated she had drifted at sea for approximately four hours. Upon further medical examination, both the father and daughter were cleared of any additional health concerns.

    FLARNG personnel continue to provide search and rescue capabilities across the southern coastline as they support joint migrant operation efforts.



    Date Taken: 04.10.2024
    Date Posted: 04.10.2024 11:23
    Story ID: 468210
    Location: FLORIDA KEYS, FL, US

    Web Views: 576
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