CARIBBEAN OCEAN: Pararescuemen from the 58th Rescue Squadron stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., demonstrated the rigged alternate method zodiac, or RAMZ, capabilities in the Caribbean June 9 for members of the Belize National Coast Guard and local media.
Before the team jumped out of a C-130J Hercules into the sparkling blue water just off the Belize coast, they dropped a 4-foot cube that contained an inflatable, motorized Zodiac boat. Then the engine, fuel and medical equipment were dropped from the aircraft, sent with a parachute for the trip down, and assembled by the team of pararescuemen.
In addition to observing the rescue tactics, the Belize coast guardsmen provided safety and security for the drop zone. This demonstration also provided a hands-on understanding of how Air Force rescue teams conduct search and rescue operations.
“We have these guys that are specialized in certain things and they have come to Belize to share their experience with our military personnel and as a result of that we will make whatever necessary adaptive process to ensure that our procedures are changed and to be better efficient,” said Lt. Col. Ganney Dortch, Belize Defence Force chief of staff.
Senior Airman Brandon Smith, a 58th RQS pararescuemen, said showcasing this capability helps his counterparts in Belize determine whether the RAMZ is a capability they want to pursue.
“We’re just here to give different ideas and exchange some information with each other and some knowledge and show them what our capabilities are and some of the things we can do,” he said. “It works very well for us in civilian search and rescue mission, far out to sea … and it could be potentially something that they would want to look at to doing in the future.”
In addition to specialized pararescumen, the team of Airmen, referred to as Guardian Angels, consists of survival specialists and combat rescuemen, all dedicated to five critical elements of personnel recovery: report, locate, support, recover and reintegrate.
Pararescuemen and combat rescue officers in Guardian Angel recovery teams deploy into uncertain or hostile environments independently or in conjunction with rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft, watercraft and overland vehicles in order to locate, authenticate and recover isolated people for return to friendly lines.
Lt. Greg Soberanis, an operations officer in the Belize National Coast Guard, said search and rescue assignments are familiar to his team in Belize, who consider it to be one of their primary missions.
The team of Airmen plan to conduct a similar jump in Jamaica as part of Operation Southern Partner-Caribbean, an exchange program between Airmen and subject matter experts in seven countries.