by Dave Spencer

The summer of 2021 has proven to be interesting and busy for all thus far. We have been impacted by hotter than normal temps, plus natural and man-made disasters. Since our last post in May, Carson City Sheriff’s SAR has responded to seven calls for service, four of which were wildfire related. Added in to that effort, your SAR Team also performed an extensive training exercise with the Naval Air Station Fallon Desert Longhorns and the Carson City Sheriff’s Aero Squadron. There’s more. In an effort to provide First Aid support to the “Death Ride” near Markleville, members of the Team got held in Alpine County to potentially assist the Sheriff there with Tamarack Fire evacuations (natural or man-made disaster?) Our editor will work in a number of event photos while I provide a little info on the NAS Fallon training event (I just type words, our editor makes all the magic).

NAS Fallon Longhorns Training

Carson City Sheriff’s Aero Squadron had the initial vision for a joint exercise when Tim P. helped out a crew that landed here at KCXP due to a bird strike. After some email discussions, the Longhorns flew an MH-60 Knighthawk to Carson City for a scheduling and planning meeting. The scenario called for two “lost” personnel to be stuck in the Pine Nuts overnight near Lebo Spring. With one broken cell phone and one with a dead battery, they have no means of contacting authorities regarding their predicament which includes one of the party being severely injured.

With the “family” contacting authorities early the next morning and providing a general whereabouts, South East Carson City/North East Douglas County, Carson City SAR would be called out and request an Aero Squadron asset to fly SAR members in an initial search for the Lost Party’s (LP) vehicle.

With ground teams en route to the suspected general area, the Aero Squadron asset spotted the vehicle and then began a search for the vehicle occupants. When ground teams arrived at the LP’s vehicle, they began tracking the LPs on foot. Foot tracks were still leading the ground teams along a dirt road when Aero got the glimpse of a body on a peak surrounded by Pinion trees. At this point, one ground team continued to follow the foot tracks while the other changed direction towards the sighting, and a drone was employed to scout ahead of the second team.

When ground teams arrived on scene with the LPs, a medical assessment was performed determining that an air evacuation by hoist would be required. At this point a call was made to the Longhorns after simulating a call to NV Division of Emergency Management who would then call the Air Force Rescue Coordinator Center to receive a mission number. Once the Longhorns came on scene, the crew performed an aerial evaluation of the area and determined engine power settings impacted by the density altitude (it was HOT that day). The Longhorns then began their portion of the training event, utilizing the hoist to drop personnel who performed further evaluation of the LPs and performed patient packaging for hoist with the assistance of SAR members.

Overall a long and terrific day of training!

Of note, we were very happy to hear that all Longhorn crew members involved in the recent aircraft mishap were rescued and are safe. Theirs is a very challenging and unforgiving business.

Community Events

In addition to callouts and training, CCSSAR participated in two community outreach events. The first one was the Nevada Outdoor Experience Youth Outdoor Expo, put on by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Wild Sheep Foundation. The kids got to check out the water rescue boat and practice using the water rescue throw bags. The second event was the annual Sheriff’s National Night Out. The kids lined up to pull our Jeep Rubicon back and forth with a 5:1 mechanical advantage pulley system. They kept us busy until the end of the event!