Rescue heroes headline Miami Beach air show

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Brandon Kalloo Sanes
  • 920th Rescue Wing

Citizen Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, joined top tier U.S. military assets from around the world in Miami Beach to demonstrate a cumulative show of air power at the National Salute to America’s Heroes Air and Sea Show May 27-28.


Military personnel from active, guard and reserve units performed numerous maneuvers and flight patterns along South Beach for thousands of weekend spectators.


“The local community can expect a renewed sense of pride regarding what U.S. armed forces can and will do to protect them,” said Col. Kurt Matthews, Wing Commander, 920th RQW. “The aerial demonstration is the perfect way to reflect this Memorial Day weekend, as we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”


Rescue Warriors demonstrated combat-search-and-rescue capabilities by flying two HH-60G Pave Hawks over the Atlantic Ocean with Guardian Angel Airmen aboard performing open-water rescue drills.


“This event allowed us to demonstrate the amount of teamwork that goes into a rescue mission,” said Senior Airman Lucas Vannorsdall, pararescueman, 920th RQW. “But mostly, it was about never forgetting our brothers in arms who gave their lives so that others may live.”


California Air National Guardsmen piloted an HC-130P/N King while 920th Reservists flew their helicopters behind the tanker aircraft to form an air-to-air refueling formation while four Air Force Reserve A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 442d Fighter Wing, flew overhead.


Beach goers were treated to non-stop military aircraft flybys. The aircraft screamed past oceanside skyscrapers like a scene out of a Transformers movie.


“Its not everyday you get to see jets doing tricks in the air,” said Miami resident and hotel employee Cedric Jose. “It was really cool. I work on the beach and I know the guests were fascinated as much as I was because everyone had their phones out to get pictures.”  


Sun-drenched spectators applauded as pararescuemen swam to shore after their water demonstration. Parents took photos of their children posing with the soaked Airmen.


“I thought it was spectacular,” Jose said. “You don’t really get to see things like this on South Beach. Watching them (pararescuemen) come down and get in the water, was a memorable and personable experience.”


The 920th RQW is the nation’s only Air Force Reserve rescue unit. Its mission is to provide life-saving medical support to U.S. armed forces and coalition partners.