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Schroder
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Schroder
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PostMon Mar 22, 2021 8:25 am 
If you needed to be airlifted from the mountains in the 70's and 80's there was a good chance that you'd see Fort Lewis or Whidbey Naval Air Station involved. In early 1971, the Army created a MAST unit (Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic) at Gray Field at Fort Lewis together with the Mountain Rescue units in Washington. A two-man volunteer Mountain Rescue team would be on duty every weekend in a "ready-room" on the base and was able to be off the ground in a couple of minutes. All the pilots had just survived tours in Viet Nam and were highly seasoned, giving some of the wildest rides I ever experienced. The rescuers saw every imaginable scene from mountain injuries to car accidents and even delivering babies. I had my camera with me on our first training day in 1971:
MAST 1971
MAST 1971
MAST 1971
MAST 1971
Whidbey Island NAS had several CH-47 Chinook helicopters and were used a lot in Snohomish County, North Cascades and the Olympics. Here's one shot of "Firewood 1" rescuing rafters on the Skykomish River. On one of my more memorable rescue missions in 1972, I was on board this helicopter when they tried to lower me by cable to an injured climber near the top of the North Peak of Mt Index. The terrain was to steep to allow the rotors to clear so I had to be dropped off on a lower ledge just as the sun was setting. It later crashed near Whatcom Pass in the early 1980's with only one survivor.
Firewood 1 - Whidbey NAS
Firewood 1 - Whidbey NAS
Whidbey NAS still has a very active rescue unit utilizing Seahawk helicopters.

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Malachai Constant
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PostMon Mar 22, 2021 10:20 am 
Was that the one that crashed at Perfect Pass? I remember the wreckage and it left us with a somber feeling. There was that crashed near Snoqualmie Pass in the early 70ís a friend was working for the State and was a first responder to the fire that started no survivors. RIP China Lake was the go to place in the Sierras because we had helicopters that could hover at high altitudes.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Schroder
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PostMon Mar 22, 2021 11:06 am 
Yes, it was Perfect Pass. Memory slipping there. It happened on 9/11/80 and there were 2 survivors out of 7 on board.

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runup
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runup
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PostMon Mar 22, 2021 8:18 pm 
Schroder wrote:
All the pilots had just survived tours in Viet Nam and were highly seasoned, giving some of the wildest rides I ever experienced. agree.gif up.gif ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Whidbey NAS still has a very active rescue unit utilizing Seahawk helicopters. up.gif

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car68
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PostTue Mar 23, 2021 3:37 pm 
CH-46, Sea Knight. Chinook's little brother. In my youth I rode a MAST helicopter at Mt Rainier to help search for Julie Fillo. The helicopter bug bit hard. I joined the Army thinking they would let me fly those. They didn't, yes i was naive. They did issue me a set of mechanics tools and let me drill holes in them though. Still doing air rescues.

I'm the guy 911 calls.
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BlackOpsRanch
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PostThu Feb 01, 2024 1:59 am 
I'm writing a paper on SAR Missions and was wondering if you knew what year the military first used the Chinook for High Altitude rescue missions on Mount Rainier and other High Altitude mountains? From what I've located so far the information says the 80s or 90s but I haven't been able to locate any documented Chinook rescue missions. The first documented Chinook rescue mission I can actually find was in 2008 but I know that there had to be some performed before that. Do you know of any earlier Chinook rescue missions or can you please point me in the right direction to let me know where I might be able to locate the information I need? Also do you know if there's any records and where I might be able to locate them for how many times the Chinook has been utilized for civilian or military High Altitude Rescue Missions in the Pacific Northwest? I'm sorry for bothering you with these questions but I want my paper to be as accurate as possible with as much detail as possible and I know that there had to be earlier documented Chinook missions flown and it should be some type of public log that shows details as well as dates of each Mission flown. Thank you in advance for your time and any assistance you provide.

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Schroder
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PostThu Feb 01, 2024 8:40 am 
BlackOpsRanch wrote:
I'm writing a paper on SAR Missions and was wondering if you knew what year the military first used the Chinook for High Altitude rescue missions on Mount Rainier and other High Altitude mountains?
They started using Chinooks in the mountains here around 1970. There were plenty of them from Viet Nam. On Mt Rainier they used them to shuttle SAR teams up to Muir but they usully used Hueys to go any higher. I remember a Chinook landing in the crater once though. Here are a few operations in the 70's using Chinooks that I've written about here: https://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8033435 https://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8035163 https://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8034779 https://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8034553 https://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8033415 By the mid 1980's, counties had their own helos and the military, except Whidbey NAS, wasn't used much. The Navy switched to SeaHawks. I was on a winter rescue on Mt Rainier in the late 90's where the Park Service flew me up in a chartered Jet Ranger.

Snow_Knot
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car68
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car68
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PostThu Feb 01, 2024 12:43 pm 
https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1180/national-park-service-announces-mike-gauthier-as-lake-mead-national-recreation-area-s-new-superintendent.htm This guy would know. Also you could do a FOIA request as all rescue activities in the NPS are documented.

I'm the guy 911 calls.

Snow_Knot
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