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Heroic Mission Earns the 571st Medical Company Distinguished TRW-Sponsored AAAA Air/Sea Rescue Award.

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FORT RUCKER, Ala.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 31, 2001

Dangerously high altitudes, gusting winds and freezing temperatures made for a heroic life-saving mission earning the 571st Medical Company (Air Ambulance) the distinguished Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA) Air/Sea Rescue Award, created and sponsored by TRW Aeronautical Systems (Lucas Aerospace). Bud Orr, TRW Aeronautical Systems' Vice President of Government Relations, will participate in the presentation of the award to Maj. Joseph Eckert, 571st Company Commander, and 1st Sgt. Michael Brennan, 571st Company First Sergeant, who will accept the award on behalf of the crewmembers at the AAAA Aviation Center Chapter's Annual Awards Banquet in Fort Rucker, Ala., this evening. The AAAA Air/Sea Rescue Award honors members of air rescue commands for outstanding bravery and valiant performance in air/sea rescues.

On June 2, 1999, the 571st Medical Company, Ft. Carson, Colo., was called upon to rescue a hiker stranded for two days 13,500 feet high on Mt. Elbert in freezing temperatures of -15 (degree) Celsius (5 degree Fahrenheit). The hiker had extreme frostbite of the face, hands and feet and "was literally freezing to death" according to the rescue report. Cpt. Jeffery Mosso, Cpt. Edward Mandril, SSG Lisa Dixon and Sgt. Phillip Smith were dispatched in a UH-60 Blackhawk equipped with a TRW Aeronautical Systems personnel rescue hoist. Once the hiker was located, the crew determined that due to the steep and uneven terrain, the only way to successfully extract the hiker and save his life would be by using the high performance rescue hoist. Once in position, SSG Dixon (crew chief) hoisted Sgt. Smith (flight medic) down approximately 75 feet to the hiker's location. The added rotor wash of the aircraft created a chilling factor that the crew estimated dropped the temperature to -25(degree) Celsius (-13 degree Fahrenheit) and Sgt. Smith immediately began to experience frostbite. The gusting winds and blowing snow in and around the mountaintop made for an extremely difficult hover environment requiring the pilot to continuously maneuver and adjust the aircraft. The crew recognized that time was of the essence to avoid hypoxia brought on by high altitudes. Sgt. Smith secured the patient in a jungle penetrator, which was safely hoisted into the aircraft. Once Sgt. Smith was safely in the aircraft, the patient was taken to Lake County Airport in Leadville, Colo., and transported to the local hospital.

"We are proud to be the creator and sponsor of an award that recognizes the achievements of individuals who are willing to risk their own lives to save those of others," said Ken Maciver, Executive Vice President and General Manager, TRW Aeronautical Systems. "As a manufacturer of rescue hoists, we are also proud to be able to contribute to the lifesaving efforts of these individuals by giving them the tools to help them do their jobs. These individuals display bravery and heroism every time they go to work and any effort to recognize them will surely never be great enough to reflect the recognition they truly deserve."

TRW Aeronautical Systems created the Air/Sea Rescue Award in 1989 to honor air rescue crews who, by using a personnel rescue hoist, display outstanding dedication and courage to save lives or ease suffering in a crisis situation. The award became an AAAA award in 1991 with sponsorship by TRW Aeronautical Systems. TRW Aeronautical Systems manufactures hoists that are proven in military and civil service around the world.

To be eligible for nomination for the AAAA Air/Sea Rescue Award, the rescue must have been performed using any personnel rescue hoist and the crew members named in the nominating form must have had an active role in the rescue effort.

TRW Aeronautical Systems (Lucas Aerospace) provides the global aerospace industry with high integrity systems and equipment in engine controls, flight controls, missile systems, power generation and management, cargo handling, hoists and winches, and flexible shafts and couplings, all backed by a worldwide customer support organization. For Company news and information, visit

TRW Inc. provides high-technology products and services to the automotive, aerospace and information technology markets worldwide. The Company's news releases are available through TRW's corporate Web site at
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jan 31, 2001
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