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Yokota enhances rescue capabilities

A 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey prepares for flight at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

A 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey prepares for flight at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Poe, 459th Airlift Squadron special missions aviator instructor and UH-1N flight engineer, uses a hoist to raise into the aircraft at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. For 459 AS’ special missions aviators to become certified to operate the hoist, SMA instructors with the 512th Rescue Squadron, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, and the 36th RQS, Fairchild AFB, Washington, arrived at Yokota to train alongside flight engineers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Poe, 459th Airlift Squadron special missions aviator instructor and UH-1N flight engineer, uses a hoist to raise into the aircraft at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. For 459 AS’ special missions aviators to become certified to operate the hoist, SMA instructors with the 512th Rescue Squadron, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, and the 36th RQS, Fairchild AFB, Washington, arrived at Yokota to train alongside flight engineers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey flight engineer, reels in a UH-1N hoist cable at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. For 459th AS special missions aviators to become certified to operate the hoist, SMA instructors with the 512th Rescue Squadron, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, and the 36th RQS, Fairchild AFB, Washington, arrived at Yokota to train alongside flight engineers. The requalification process included day and night hoist operations with instructor supervision. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey flight engineer, reels in a UH-1N hoist cable at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. For 459th AS special missions aviators to become certified to operate the hoist, SMA instructors with the 512th Rescue Squadron, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, and the 36th RQS, Fairchild AFB, Washington, arrived at Yokota to train alongside flight engineers. The requalification process included day and night hoist operations with instructor supervision. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey flight engineer, handles a UH-1N hoist cable at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. For 459th AS special missions aviators to become certified to operate the hoist, SMA instructors with the 512th Rescue Squadron, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, and the 36th RQS, Fairchild AFB, Washington, arrived at Yokota to train alongside flight engineers. The requalification process included day and night hoist operations with the supervision of instructors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey flight engineer, handles a UH-1N hoist cable at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. For 459th AS special missions aviators to become certified to operate the hoist, SMA instructors with the 512th Rescue Squadron, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, and the 36th RQS, Fairchild AFB, Washington, arrived at Yokota to train alongside flight engineers. The requalification process included day and night hoist operations with the supervision of instructors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey flight engineer, prepares stokes litter for hoisting at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two UH-1N Hueys with new rescue hoists. Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn’t feasible. Now, 459th AS aircrew can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey flight engineer, prepares stokes litter for hoisting at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two UH-1N Hueys with new rescue hoists. Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn’t feasible. Now, 459th AS aircrew can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey flight engineer, watches as a UH-1N prepares to lift a stokes litter at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn’t feasible. Now, 459th AS aircrew can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey flight engineer, watches as a UH-1N prepares to lift a stokes litter at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn’t feasible. Now, 459th AS aircrew can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey flight engineer, waits for takeoff at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. For 459 AS’ special missions aviators to become certified to operate the hoist, SMA instructors with the 512th Rescue Squadron, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, and the 36th RQS, Fairchild AFB, Washington, arrived at Yokota to train alongside flight engineers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron UH-1N Huey flight engineer, waits for takeoff at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. For 459 AS’ special missions aviators to become certified to operate the hoist, SMA instructors with the 512th Rescue Squadron, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, and the 36th RQS, Fairchild AFB, Washington, arrived at Yokota to train alongside flight engineers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Capt. Robert Konowicz, 512th Rescue Squadron UH-1N Huey pilot, reviews a pre-flight checklist inside of a UH-1N at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. The 459th Airlift Squadron recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

Capt. Robert Konowicz, 512th Rescue Squadron UH-1N Huey pilot, reviews a pre-flight checklist inside of a UH-1N at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 23, 2016. The 459th Airlift Squadron recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Delano Scott/Released)

(Left to right) Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron flight engineer and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Pound, 36th Rescue Squadron special missions aviator evaluator, perform hoist training at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn’t feasible. Now, 459th AS aircrew can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

(Left to right) Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron flight engineer and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Pound, 36th Rescue Squadron special missions aviator evaluator, perform hoist training at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn’t feasible. Now, 459th AS aircrew can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

(Left to right) Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Pound, 36th Rescue Squadron special missions aviator evaluator, perform hoist training at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two  Hueys with new rescue hoists. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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(Left to right) Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 459th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Pound, 36th Rescue Squadron special missions aviator evaluator, perform hoist training at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

Members of the 459th Airlift Squadron perform hoist weight test at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two UH-1N Hueys with new rescue hoists. Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn’t feasible. Now, 459th AS aircrew can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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Members of the 459th Airlift Squadron perform hoist weight test at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two UH-1N Hueys with new rescue hoists. Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn’t feasible. Now, 459th AS aircrew can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Christopher Rector, 459th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, supervises a UH-1 Huey lifting a testing weight, during hoist training at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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Tech. Sgt. Christopher Rector, 459th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, supervises a UH-1 Huey lifting a testing weight, during hoist training at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

(Left to right) Tech. Sgt. Christopher Pound, 36th Rescue Squadron special missions aviator evaluator, and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Rector, 459th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, hoisted 350 lbs. during a hoist training exercise at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn’t feasible. Now, 459th AS aircrew can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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(Left to right) Tech. Sgt. Christopher Pound, 36th Rescue Squadron special missions aviator evaluator, and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Rector, 459th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, hoisted 350 lbs. during a hoist training exercise at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn’t feasible. Now, 459th AS aircrew can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Poe, 459th Airlift Squadron fight engineer, waits for a UH-1 Huey to land during hoist training at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn’t feasible. Now, 459th AS aircrew can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
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Staff Sgt. Nicholas Poe, 459th Airlift Squadron fight engineer, waits for a UH-1 Huey to land during hoist training at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 22, 2016. The 459th AS recently improved their search and rescue capabilities by outfitting two Hueys with new rescue hoists. Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn’t feasible. Now, 459th AS aircrew can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)

YOKTOA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 459th Airlift Squadron recently outfitted two of their UH-1N Hueys with new rescue hoists, improving their search and rescue capabilities that support airlift operations across the Kanto Plains region.

"It allows us to now go to places where we can't land," said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Poe, 459th AS special missions aviator. "From lifting people off the side of a mountain to carefully placing cargo onto buildings, the hoist gives the aircraft a wider range of capabilities that weren't possible before."

Although all SMAs receive initial hoist certification during technical training, they must conduct retraining to maintain their certification.  Without the hoist capability at Yokota, most SMAs with the 459th AS hadn't kept up hoist currency and training, so they required recertification.

To conduct the requalification, SMA instructors from the 512th Rescue Squadron, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., and the 36th RQS, Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., arrived at Yokota to train the 459th AS flight engineers. The requalification process included day and night hoist operations with the supervision of instructors.

"There's a crawl, walk and run phase for the hoist training," said Capt. Robert Konowicz, the 512th Rescue Squadron UH-1N pilot. "The crawl phase ensures Airmen understand the ins-and-outs of the equipment. The walking phase is using the hoist during day operations under the supervision of instructors. Lastly, the run phase is a live hoisting using night vision goggles."

Yokota's UH-1N flight engineers revealed that their past experiences with SAR training and scenarios made the recertification process a fluid one. 

"Not only are the aircraft receiving this new capability, it's also fortunate that us flight engineers have all had previous experiences with the new equipment," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Wright, 374th Operations Group special missions aviator. "The recertification process has allowed us to utilize the skillsets we had honed during our initial training as well as our previous assignments."
 
Previously, without the hoist, conducting rescues in small, tight areas wasn't feasible. Now, 459th AS can conduct any type of search and rescue scenario throughout the Kanto Plains. And, the aircraft receiving a new capability allows for the flight engineers to continue their hoist training and experience here for the unforeseeable future.