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My responsibility was to maintain personnel records of our officers and airmen in all aspects of their careers, from training, to shots, to weapons qualification, not only for the Center, but every officer and airmen stationed at our local base rescue units. The aircraft crew - pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and two aluminum suited firefighters - could be air borne in 90 seconds, poised to pick up a fire suppression kit.We had 14 Detachments covering the 8 western states. The field of blue represents the Sky from which our mission is accomplished, with a star for each of the Air Rescue Detachments, plus Alaska, within Western Air Rescue Center.WARC was a rescue coordination center covering the 8 western states plus Alaska.Any incident, civilian or military, involving a missing aircraft, was coordinated through our rescue coordination center. It featured a massive mapping table (12'12') with topo maps covering every square inch of our coverage area, and a telephone banks plugged into every single rescue group, bloodhound owners, and search volunteers in the eight western states!After several pick-ups, one of the two rescue helicopters involved in the evacuation was struck by heavy enemy ground fire and was forced to leave the scene for an emergency landing.Airman Pitsenbarger stayed behind on the ground to perform medical duties.
As each of the nine casualties evacuated that day was recovered, Airman Pitsenbarger refused evacuation in order to get more wounded soldiers to safety.The unit's motto was: "These things we do that others may live."ARRS returned to its former name of ARS in 1989 and was disestablished in 1993, following the disestablishment of Military Airlift Command and the dispersal of USAF search and rescue (SAR) forces among other commands.] For the most part we didn't see that much of each other.The 41st running at full speed three shifts, with a full complement of mechanics and support personnel, caring for a couple of Grumman HU-16 Albatross search-and-rescue amphibian aircraft.We had a hell of a send off party for him, and decorated his bunk area with memorabilia.It was generally speculated that Pits probably didn't sober up until he got to the Philippines! Our aircraft and pilots were constantly running rescue missions in Viet Nam, with Paramedics assigned to each mission.
One day just after lunch, our Commanding Officer called us into a conference room. We saw it on the evening news with Walter Cronkite. Until you recognize a name and match it to a face, a real personality. Pitsenbarger received the Air Force Cross posthumously on June 30, 1966. Salem was assigned to us at Western Air Rescue Center as our Flying Safety Officer, responsible for training and check riding pilots and crews at our 14 Local Base Rescue (LBR's) in the eight western states.