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36th Rescue Squadron saves injured hunter in Idaho

From left to right, Staff Sgt. Joseph Lopez, 36th Rescue Squadron flight engineer, Tech. Sgt. Amber Schumacher, 336th Training Support Squadron independent medical technician, Capt. Erik Greendyke, 36th RQS operations officer, and Capt. John Harris, 336th Training Group executive officer, pose with the 36th RQS squadron sign. It is squadron tradition to change the number on the sign signifying the amount of people saved by the 36th RQS. This rescue marks the 692nd save the 36th RQS has accomplished. (Courtesy photo)

From left to right, Staff Sgt. Joseph Lopez, 36th Rescue Squadron flight engineer, Tech. Sgt. Amber Schumacher, 336th Training Support Squadron independent medical technician, Capt. Erik Greendyke, 36th RQS operations officer, and Capt. John Harris, 336th Training Group executive officer, pose with the 36th RQS squadron sign. It is squadron tradition to change the number on the sign signifying the amount of people saved by the 36th RQS. This rescue marks the 692nd save the 36th RQS has accomplished. (Courtesy photo)

Capt. John Harris, co-pilot of the rescue mission, sits in a UH-1N Iroquois helicopter Oct. 10, 2016, at Kootenai Medical Center, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Harris and three other Airmen were part of a rescue mission to save an injured hunter from the side of a steep ravine. (Courtesy photo)

Capt. John Harris, co-pilot of the rescue mission, sits in a UH-1N Iroquois helicopter Oct. 10, 2016, at Kootenai Medical Center, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Harris and three other Airmen were part of a rescue mission to save an injured hunter from the side of a steep ravine. (Courtesy photo)

Tech. Sgt. Schumacher, 336th Training Support Squadron independent medical technician, prepares to hoist a man during a rescue operation Oct. 10, 2016, approximately 30 miles southeast of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Schumacher and three other Airmen from Fairchild were part of a crew who rescued an injured hunter. (Courtesy photo)

Tech. Sgt. Schumacher, 336th Training Support Squadron independent medical technician, prepares to hoist a man during a rescue operation Oct. 10, 2016, approximately 30 miles southeast of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Schumacher and three other Airmen from Fairchild were part of a crew who rescued an injured hunter. (Courtesy photo)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Airmen from Fairchild rescued a 74-year-old hunter from a steep ridge approximately 30 miles southeast of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Oct. 10, 2016.

The hunter, Chuck Peterson, fell down a ravine while attempting to retrieve an elk he was hunting earlier that morning, and sustained a broken leg in the process. He laid there for almost 10 hours, until he was rescued by Airmen from the 36th Rescue Squadron and one independent medical technician from the 336th Training Support Squadron.

After the UH-1N Iroquois helicopter arrived on scene, Staff Sgt. Joseph Lopez, 36th RQS special missions aviator, hoisted down Tech. Sgt. Amber Schumacher, 336th TRSS IDMT, to the top of the ridge. Ensuring she had proper footing on the hill side, Schumacher descended nearly 900 feet down the steep ravine.

"I was going through all of my medical checklists and thinking about what resources were available to me and how I would treat the patient," said Schumacher. "I was preparing for a worst case scenario, but I knew I had to get to him and get him out of there."

Schumacher and two Shoshane Fire Department personnel lifted Peterson onto a Stokers litter used for extraction. The aircrew airlifted Peterson to Kootenai Medical Center, Coeur d'Alene.

The two other Airmen involved were Capt. Erik Greendyke, 36th RQS aircraft commander, and Capt. John Harris, co-pilot of the mission.
Greendyke has been involved in five rescues while he's been at Fairchild, as for Harris, Schumacher and Lopez, this was their first rescue since being stationed here.

"The hard thing about rescue is you always have to realize that your best day, is someone else's worst day," said Harris. "You're excited to help this guy, but he's been sitting on the side of a mountain having one of the worst days of his life."

This rescue marks the 692nd save of the 36th RQS.