Guard takes over Interior rescue calls

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2008

FAIRBANKS - The Alaska Air National Guard is picking up rescue calls in Interior Alaska after the military could no longer provide the service before of war duty.

Spc. Margaret Moonin, spokeswoman of the Alaska Department of Veteran and Military Affairs, said the Alaska Air National Guard will provide emergency rescues for the foreseeable future.

She said they get calls that the Alaska State Troopers can't respond to, or if it's a more difficult mission that requires the Guard's specialized equipment.

They have responded to at least three calls since Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic, or MAST, discontinued the service.

MAST provided more than 1,000 rescues to Interior residents during the course of three decades. The Army stopped the service when the unit was deployed to Afghanistan July 1 for a 12-month tour.

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