Alaska National Guard members rescued two men on Feb. 14 who were suffering from severe frostbite in a remote area of the state.

Troops with the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, a unit of the 176th Wing assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, teamed up with the state’s Army National Guardsmen and state troopers to save two overdue snow machiners near Tuntutuliak, Alaska, according to a service release.

With help from a UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter based at an aviation facility in Bethel, Alaska, the aircrew located both men and transported them to emergency medical services. They received treatment at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Regional Hospital in Bethel, a regional hub in the southwestern part of the state.

The rescue cames only weeks after Alaska Army National Guard members completed another daring mission, saving a distressed person 20 miles southwest of Whittier, Alaska, on Jan. 17, according to another service release.

This is also not the first time Alaska Guardsmen have rescued stranded snow machiners. In October 2022, troops with the 176th Wing saved six service members 130 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska, a service release said.

Alaska Air National Guard Capt. Christopher McKnight said in the release that the group’s use of a satellite-communication device was essential for that mission’s successful outcome.

“Over-the-horizon communication was their lifeline to the [t]roopers and to us,” he said. “It’s also important to be ready for winter weather as conditions can change quite suddenly for the worse.”

Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media

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