Fallon Navy Search and Rescue team is ready for anything

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Updated: 7/19/2013 11:13 am
FALLON, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- In northern Nevada and the Sierra weather can change at a moment's notice. In the mountains search and rescue teams have their work cut out for them in the high altitudes and rocky terrain. 

"It's the reality of the situation that people go out and have accidents and get hurt that's the worst part of the job," said Lieutenant Commander Willson Porter, a U.S. Navy Search and Rescue pilot.

Despite that, the search and rescue pilots at NAS Fallon said they have the best jobs in the Navy.

"The flying is the most challenging flying I've ever done and I love it," said Lieutenant Tony Bomba.

Lieutenant Commander Porter said he has lived all over the world and there is no base like this one.

"I can tell you first hand having come up here as part of an air wing and trained, the ranges here are world class," Lt. Cmdr. Porter said.

"There's a lot of high risk training that the Navy conducts out here, specifically when the carrier air groups come in," Lt. Bomba said.

So how do they prepare to respond to high-risk situations? Lieutenant Bomba said that answer is simple.

"We train, train, train," he said.

Lieutenant Justin Davis said they assist other agencies with rescues when the mountain terrain becomes too challenging.

"When we get called it's basically when they can't do it, so we get all the really, really hard tasks," Lt. Davis said.

The team responds to real-life emergencies off base across northern Nevada and the Sierra.

"In the winter time, it's back country skiiers and hikers. In the summer time it's ATV riders," Lt. Cmdr. Porter said.

But despite the geographic challenges, they love the work at NAS Fallon.

"It's a super professional group of people here who take a lot of pride in their job," Lt. Cmdr. Porter said. "We're all happy to be here. We love being up here in northern Nevada."

Lieutenant Bomba said they know their base is vital to the Navy's mission.

"This is one of the last training facilities of this complexity for Navy pilots to come out and train on," Lt. Bomba said. "Without that I think our readiness and our ability to be able to go out and, god forbid, fight the next war would be degraded if we didn't have this facility."

With sequestration cuts hitting the military, NAS Fallon's search and rescue program was almost completely shut down. Without them there would be no back-up for TOPGUN or visiting aarrier air groups if a disaster happened. Lieutenant Davis said the program is still month to month, but the future is looking brighter.
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