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News > Fairchild Rescue Flight rescues injured horseback rider
36th Rescue Flight rescues injured horseback rider
Recovering from home, John Beeh was rescued by Airmen from Fairchild Air Force Base near McCall, Idaho, after being thrown from his horse and injuring his hip July 21, 2013. Four Airmen from the 36th Rescue Flight dispatched to the area in a UH-1N Iroquois helicopter. (Courtesy photo)
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Fairchild Rescue Flight rescues injured horseback rider

Posted 7/29/2013   Updated 7/31/2013 Email story   Print story


by Scott King
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

7/29/2013 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Airmen from Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., rescued a 66-year-old male July 21 near McCall, Idaho, after he was kicked by his horse and injured his hip and leg.

The victim, John Beeh, was on his way via horseback with his wife and another couple to camp at 20-Mile Lake when the incident occurred. He was on the lower edge of a bowl-shaped portion of the mountain just downhill from the lake, unreachable by car or all-terrain vehicle.

Neither local officials, nor a local ground rescue team could extract Beeh. Running out of options, the Idaho County, Idaho Sheriff's Office contacted the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., which contacted the 36th Rescue Flight here. Four Airmen were then dispatched to the area in a UH-1N Iroquois helicopter.

Once they arrived on scene, they were time constrained due to fuel and had to expedite the extraction.

"My co-pilot, Capt. Tyler Rennell did an excellent job providing a solid hover for the dual pickup," said Maj. Brent Golembiewski, aircraft commander. "We were low on fuel and the actual extraction point was a small rocky area roughly [5 x 20] feet surrounded by 100-foot-tall dead pine trees - not exactly easy to do, but over all it was a great mission, and I'm proud to be part of such an exceptional crew."

Once safely hovering, flight engineer, Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Griego, lowered independent duty medical technician, Master Sgt. Joseph Brownell, roughly 200 feet through a 10 x 10 window to Beeh.

"It was a very tight opening," Griego said. "Luckily we were able to lower Brownell down where the victim was already on a backboard. He re-evaluated Beeh's injuries, loaded him onto the stokes litter, and then attached himself with a harness to the litter for a dual pick up - this was my first save, I couldn't have done it without the expertise of my crew and medic."

Recovering from his injuries at home today, Beeh is extremely grateful for the Fairchild crew.

"Heck yeah, I'm glad the Air Force showed up to help me," Beeh said. "I didn't know how everything was going to turn out, now thanks to the Air Force, I'm still alive - they did one whale of a job"

His wife of 49 years, Georgia, is also glad the Fairchild crew showed up.

"There was no other way he was going to get out of there," she said. "I'm so glad they were able to help us through this awful experience. I was in awe at what they did for him - he owes them his life."

The rescue took approximately three hours from the time the 36th RQF received the call to the time the Beeh was transported [via the Iroquois] to St. Joseph Hospital in Lewiston, Idaho.

Beeh spent three days in the hospital and is now at home recovering from broken femur bone and other bumps and bruises.

The crew consisted of: Maj. Brent Golembiewski, 36th RQF aircraft commander; Capt. Tyler Rennell, 36th RQF co-pilot; Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Griego, 36th RQF flight engineer; and Master Sgt. Joseph Brownell, 336th Training Support Squadron independent duty medical technician.

This most recent rescue was the flight's 683rd.

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