308th Rescue Squadron training in Perry before deployment
People in the Perry area might notice military helicopters flying around this week.
Reporter Jacob Reynolds headed down to the Guardian Center to find out why Air Force Reserve Command Rescue Squadrons made the trip to Central Georgia.
Dozens of Air Force Reserve airmen and women made the trip from Florida to Perry.
The 920th Rescue Wing’s 308th Rescue Squadron is using the Guardian Center to train before being deployed next year.
Master Sergeant Brian Gilbert says this will be his 4th deployment and the Center gets simulations pretty close to the real thing.
“I mean this facility here is, there's a lot of money in this facility to make it very real world. To be able to use some munitions in an urban environment? That's something you don't get in very many places,” Gilbert said.
Captain Ryan Kelly is from the 38th Rescue Squadron based at Moody and is helping run the simulations. He says the training can save lives.
“I mean this is very serious stuff, it's warfare. You know, basically it's just our guys getting ready in training to identify any weaknesses, basically establishing standard operating procedures within the team,” Kelly said.
He continued saying establishing muscle memory with the training can be crucial in emergency situations to act quickly and save lives.
Gilbert says the squadrons help with medical and other evacuations, natural disasters, and in combat zones, which is what they were training for on Friday.
“I would say the main mission of that is being able to recover a downed pilot in a hostile area. Hence not only being search and rescue, it's combat search and rescue,” Gilbert explained.
The 308th, along with the 301st, have been practicing roof rescues, pilot rescues, and other scenarios. Before the leave Tuesday, they plan to practice collapsed building rescues as well.
It’s been a busy few months for the 308th. Gilbert says the helped rescue roughly 250 people from the Houston, Texas area after Hurricane Harvey hit.
Gilbert couldn't tell us where the 308th is being deployed, but the mission, although difficult, is pretty simple.
“Get people out of places they don't want to be anymore,” Gilbert said with a smile.
After all, it’s what they train for.