June History Minute

  • Published
  • By 920th Rescue Wing History Office

The 920th Rescue Wing, previously called the 301st Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron flew a humanitarian mission to MEDEVAC a premature infant in need of emergency medical care to a hospital in Georgia at the direction of the White House on June 28, 1981. The unit was ready to provide support before even receiving clearance to perform the mission. A 301st ARRS HC-130 crew flew Stephanie Marie McElrath to Augusta, Georgia from Homestead AFB.


Stephanie was born on June 27 at Miami’s Memorial Hospital and needed medical care that was not available at any hospitals in the state. A bed was found for her at a hospital in Georgia. Her doctor asked the 301st ARRS to provide air ambulance service as it was a life or death situation. The Air Force originally denied the request as civilian air ambulance service was available. The parent’s could not afford the air ambulance service so her doctor and hospital administration elevated the request all the way to the president. Within two hours, the order was given.


At this time, it was reported that the unit had saved approximately 21 infants, 16 with respiratory distress, 11 of which were premature.


The 301st ARRS later received letters of appreciation from President Ronald Reagan, Secretary of the Air Force Verne Orr, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Lew Allen, Jr., Chief of the Air Force Reserve Maj. Gen. Richard Bodycombe, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Reserve Affairs Edward J. Philbin, and Fourth Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Sloan R. Gill.