FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Air Force Capt. Darin Overstreet
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (12/20/11) – The Colorado Army National Guard was requested to assist in the search and rescue of two stranded motorists in Eastern Las Animas County shortly after midnight.
The Colorado Department of Emergency Management requested additional help after initial attempts by Colorado Department of Transportation plows to reach the motorists were unsuccessful.
Under governor approval, one COARNG Small Unit Support Vehicle, aka SUSV or snowcat, was dispatched from the La Junta, Colo., armory with three COARNG Citizen-Soldiers and one Colorado State Patrolman on board.
The SUSV and crew traveled approximately 50 miles south on County Road 90 where they located the stranded motorists.
After recovering the motorists, the SUSV encountered a technical difficulty, rendering it immobile, while enroute to the COARNG armory located in Rocky Ford, Colo.
The Colorado Joint Operations Center dispatched three addition SUSVs to assist in the recovery operation.
Sgt. 1st Class Craig Higgins, CO-JOC operations noncommissioned officer is in communication with both teams. “The stranded SUSV still has power therefore everyone is able to keep warm while the additional team is dispatched,” he said.
The Colorado National Guard Snow Response Teams have saved numerous lives of those stranded by the elements, but is a little-known resource within the Guard.
Colorado has four SRTs staged at various locations across the state. Equipped with M973A1 SUSVs, these teams and their mighty vehicles are one of the most versatile, rigid and dependable assets available to aid emergency responders and civilians in need despite the current mechanical issue.
“The SRT was developed over 14 years ago in response to Colorado blizzards … as a quick response to be able to get much-needed help out to the local communities,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Barry Pleshek, the maintenance supervisor at Maneuver Area Equipment Training Site 64 (MATES 64) at Fort Carson, Colo.
More file photos of SUSVs in action can be found on Flickr.
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