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News > Nellis weapons squadron deploys, saves lives in Afghanistan
Nellis weapons squadron deploys, saves lives in Afghanistan

Posted 8/24/2009   Updated 8/24/2009 Email story   Print story


by Tech. Sgt. Aileen Carter
Nellis Public Affairs

8/24/2009 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev.  -- The 34th Weapons Squadron, the first U. S. Air Force Weapons School unit to be tasked to deploy in support of a real-world contingency operation, recently returned to the classroom after saving and evacuating 295 coalition force members during a 78-day operation. 

The unit, which flies the HH-60G Pavehawk helicopter--the Air Force's most advanced search and rescue platform, had to cancel all classes after receiving orders to deploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. 

Within 30 days of receiving their tasking, a 60-person team consisting of pilots, aerial gunners, flight engineers from the unit, along with maintainers from the 763rd Maintenance Squadron, were in theater providing casualty evacuation. While there, the 34th WPS certified and implemented new procedures to transport injured victims from the battlefield to medical care facilities in less than 60 minutes. 

"We've trained to do this and were given the opportunity to employ what we've taught in the Weapons School out in the combat air forces," said Lt. Col. Michael Harper, 34th WPS commander. "This experience validated our curriculum, and it is truly rewarding to see the results of what you do and get to measure it out there. I am proud to be a part of a mission such as this. Lives were saved - there's nothing greater." 

The 34th WPS resumed its curriculum in July at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School. The school is comprised of 17 squadrons, representing various U. S. Air Force weapons systems and functions, and teaches graduate-level instructor courses that provide the world's most advanced training in weapons and tactics employment for the U. S. Air Force. Graduates become experts in weapons and tactics employment, weapons systems and air, space and cyber integration. 

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