Michael's Dispatches

Rest in Peace our Brothers


09 June 2011

Today, a couple of messages came in from Air Force Combat Search and Rescue personnel.  The first message, reprinted below, caused me to stop and read it a couple of times.  It is important to note that these Air Force personnel are part of the teams that get our warriors off the battlefields and into the trauma centers in under one hour, on average.  In fact, last week the average was less than 40 minutes from call to hospital.  That is incredible.  Such dedication is not without cost.  Rest in Peace our Brothers.

The message below came in today:

On this day exactly one year ago this happen.

6/9/2010 - Air Force Combat Search and Rescue call sign Pedro 66 and Pedro 67 launched from Bastion Afghanistan in southern Afghanistan on their 3rd alert scramble of the day. Pedro 66/67 arrived on scene to recover the critically injured British Marine. The two Black Hawks immediately came under enemy fire resulting in a critically damaged tail rotor on Pedro 66. Still airborne the crew of Pedro 66 attempted to fly the hobbled bird away from ground forces to ensure no other Marines would be injured. After clearing the Landing Zone and civilian houses the aircraft became uncontrollable and Pedro 66 crashed. Pedro 67 was able to save 3 Airmen immediately along with the injured Marine. Tragically 4 Airmen perished that day: 1st LT Joel Gentz, and SSgt David Smith from the 58th and 66th Rescue Squadrons at Nellis AFB, NV and TSgt Michael Flores, and Senior Airman Benjamin White from the 48th Rescue Squadron Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. Capt. David A. Wisniewski (Aircraft Commander) also from the 66th RQS at Nellis would never wake from his coma and died 23 days later. 2 survivors Capt. Anthony Simone and MSgt Christopher Aguilera are still in recovery. Capt. Simone will never be the same due to his injuries and is with family and friends in Chicago, Illinois. MSgt Aguilera is continuing to get better and is working his way back to flying status.


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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dolores Plum · 10 years ago
    thank you for the message and by safe.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    David · 10 years ago
    my brothers, you all lived up to the PJ motto "That others may live".

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul Garner, AF Ret · 10 years ago

    I was assigned to the 7th Air Rescue Group, Wheelus AB, Libya, 1956-1957, and had many friends in the 58th which was assigned to us. General Dubose, Commander ARS, came up with the motto "That Others May Live" for the Air Rescue Service when he assumed command. It was never the exclusive motto of our paramedics but was the property of the whole Air Rescue family.

    I still take pride in my family.

    "That Others May Live"

    Paul Garner
    The Old Sarge
  • This commment is unpublished.
    TerriLPN · 10 years ago
    Rest in Peace You are All Honored and Never to be Forgotten.. And So are Your Families..
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tracy Young · 10 years ago

    Thank you for remembering with honor the Air Force Combat Search and Rescue mission (June 62010)of call-sign Pedro 66/67. We shall never forget especially thanks to your recognition. Our hearts go out to the survivors and love and respect to those families who lost those heroes... our world is less for their loss.
    Please take special care of yourself. You are a patriot and we need you to continue to tell the story of Afghanistan and all those who serve with distinction, bravery and courage!
    Be safe and well.
    Our love and full support and deep appreciation,

    The Youngs,

    Northern California, USA

    Be safe, you patriot. The Afghanistan story would not be told well without you! One of our soldiers deploys this week and the Marine soon.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jbad04 · 10 years ago
    God bless and rest their souls. Those that sacrifice their lives for a brother are special indeed.

    Please also remember in your prayers a fine young woman, Spec. Devin Snyder of Cohocton, NY. She, along with Sgt. Christopher Bell of Golden, MS, Sgt. Joshua Powell of Quitman, TX and Pfc. Robert Voakes Jr. of L'anse, MI. They were serving with the 79 rd MP Battalion when they were killed on 6/04/11 by a roadside IED near Mehtar Lam in Laghman Province. May they also rest in peace.

    Such very fine and very special young men and women we have serving our country. God Bless and keep them.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dick Watson · 10 years ago
    Any one who has been touch by a fallen heroes should know about this project free portraits of the Fallen including our allies.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bob Hankinson · 10 years ago
    I served for 6 years in Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue and Desert Rescue teams, among the most fulfilling years of my military service. SAR helicopters always operated in hazardous areas, marine and mountain, and we had the greatest respect for them. Adding the dimension of combat SAR provides additional hazard, but I am sure that the crews are ready to balance risk against the satisfaction - and sometimes exhileration - of a successful mission. Britain and the USA have stood side by side in all major conflicts except Vietnam, and we honor bravery wherever it occurs, and honor sacrifice when that too occurs. "They shall grow not old, as we who are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them."
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Leyla Najma · 10 years ago
    What can anyone say..........such brave men who risked their lives, eventually lost their lives to save another. These Fallen Hero's are the the best examples of Humanity that we have!

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Claudia Leahey · 10 years ago
    Michael I have been reading your reports for along time. I guess Im the silent one in the silent majority.

    God Bless them all and keep them safe, but if angels should come to take them well God couldn't have a better group of young men and women covering his sixes.

    Please everyone make an extra effort that when you see a soldier or a troop convoy, wave at them, give them a thumbs up, or even a hug. Everyone soldier I have done this to appreciates it and believe me, you get much more out of it than your simple acknowledgement of their bravery.

    God bless all our troops....
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dennis · 10 years ago

    Any word on when your pictorial book will ship?!?

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    Gismo Fly · 10 years ago
    With affection, RIP.
    Thank you, Mike.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tom · 10 years ago
    I never had the honor of serving, but I appreciate everything all of the veterans do, so that we can live free and safe.

    God Bless The Troops
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Craig Cody · 10 years ago
    God bless them all!
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    Terry · 10 years ago
    Thanks for posting this. My prayers are with their families...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marisa Flores · 10 years ago
    Thank you for posting. My husband Michael P. Flores was a PJ aboard Pedro 66. Keeping his and the others memories alive will help as our two children grow and ask about their daddy and the brothers he dies with. We will always remember the crew of Pedro 66 "These thing we do that others may live" 9 Jun 2010.

    Aloha Nui Loa
    Marisa, Eliana, and Michael Flores
  • This commment is unpublished.
    JD · 10 years ago
    God rest their noble souls.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    Violette · 10 years ago
    Will never be accustomed with it !!!
    My heart breaks away more every time.

    And why do I "forget" the mention the terrific "ladies of Liberty" who are serving and dying too ...maybe it's because I cannot picture myself in such a dire situation.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Richard Aubrey · 10 years ago
    For the origin of the ARS, see "Rescue!", by Elliot Arnold. Reviewed on Amazon by...me. Old book, but some still available.
    Classic story.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul Garner, AF Ret · 10 years ago

    As previously mentioned, I was with the 7th Air Rescue Group in Libya in 1956-57. I had forgotten Elliot Arnold's book until you mentioned it. My copy is packed away somewhere and, as I recall, was autographed by him. I will have to dig it out again.

    My nephew, CWO Alan Gunn was the copilot of Dustoff 90 and went MIA on 12 Feb 68 on a medevac flight from Banh Mi Thuy. No trace was ever found of his body.

    That Others May Live

    The Old Sarge
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Orion · 10 years ago
    RIP Brothers, Prayers for your souls and your families in these times of discord. We need to remind some and remember those who need our support for the sacrifice they are taking and perils they face for Duty, Country and Honor....


  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ignacio W. Palacios · 10 years ago
    First Lt. Joel Gentz:

  • This commment is unpublished.
    JOHN HUCKLE · 10 years ago
    From a Ex-Infantry Soldier ( rd Royal Regiment of Fusiliers) I wish to thanks all the Rescue Crews for their brave work in getting soldiers and Marines of all nations to medical help. RIP
  • This commment is unpublished.
    MA · 10 years ago
    In times of peril those who face it are to be placed on alters. For those who train to save should be canonized.

    These brave who when knowing the mission is "FUBAR" will still dive in head first. Not from the absence of fear but rather knowing that something else is more important...And that's never to leave our war fighters behind.

    That very thought is comfort to all service men and woman. Knowing that those who dare will have angels coming for them when in peril.

    A salute to these ultimate examples of selfless heroism.

    Sgt A.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    EBEL 8002 · 10 years ago
    That may be some inspirational stuff. Couldn’t know that opinions may be this varied. EBEL 8002Thanks a lot for all the enthusiasm to offer such handy information here.
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    USAFJTAC · 10 years ago
    I was there that day I remember hearing that call when it came out. I remember seeing the Pave hawks go out. I also remember seeing that empty spot where the pave hawk sat just hours before. It was a constant reminder for weeks that we had lost a bird. Thanks for remiding us. I lost one of my brothers on January 2nd 2010, SrA Bradley Smith, he along with the other ERQs will never be forgotten. miss you brad

    SSG Bravs
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve Gentz · 10 years ago
    Thank you for posting. Your work is very helpful to families. Marisa's comments are excellent. When my son Joel Gentz started preparing for rescue work as a Combat Rescue Officer I was able to learn some of what he might experience through your journalism. Although frightening as a parent you helped me understand just how important the rescue communitie's mission is. You helped me understand some of why it was so important to my Joel.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    zachary simone · 10 years ago
    god bless all those who serve and have been injured or died serving for our great country. our debt to the enlisted as civilians can never truly be summed into one word, sentence, or idea. these brave men fight and die to keep us free and safe. as we approach ten years since september 11, i want to commemorate the actions of those who were aboard pedro 66/67 that day. may those who did not survive rest in peace, as they could not have died a more honorable death. and may those who lived continue to recover. and to my cousin anthony, i love you bro, i am so proud of you and your mates. you make me more proud than ever to be a simone. you and your fellow soldiers are true heroes. god bless you all.
    -zachary simone,
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Paul · 5 years ago
    Hi guys

    I was out on patrol the day this happened and a lad I was with took a bullet that missed me by half inch. We medivacced him out the area back to the fob. As we were waiting for pedro 66 to land and collect him a saw it from below hit with an RPG in the tail rota. We ran with all kit in still through the camp and into the wadi just as the heli crashed into the wadi.

    We tried to save all he guys but the fire and am was too dangerous to get into immediately.

    We tried guys really did and that moment lives with me forever


    A Britsh Soldier x

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