National Guard called to help rescue stranded hiker in the Superstition Mountains

A hiker was brought to safety from the Superstition Mountains after an injury on the weekend, and Arizona's National Guard played a big role in making the save.

The National Guard got the call on the afternoon of Nov. 21, when a camper in the Superstition Mountains injured his back, and couldn’t make it down.

"It takes a lot of coordination. And it’s not just the pilots up front," said Lt. Col. Joseph Aldrich, the battalion commander whose crew made the rescue.

The crew departed from the Papago Park Military Reservation. They were called out to assist the Pinal County Sheriff's Posse, who had already started to try and help the injured person.

"The Pinal County Search and Rescue Posse Team was able to hike in about 3.5 hours, and found the injured hiker about a half hour before we got there," said Lt. Col. Aldrich.

The training paid off when the real thing happened. For this particular rescue, the helicopter crew had to put two wheels down, and hover the tail while they helped the hiker into the chopper

"You’re ready. You know you’re ready. But it’s an actual event, you know it’s important," said Lt. Col. Aldrich.

In the end, it was a successful rescue, and the hiker was grateful. He hugged the team after they safely dropped him off.

"For us being in the National Guard, that’s the amazing part, we’re able to give back to our community," said Lt. Col. Aldrich. "In addition to training for our wartime mission, we train for our mission here in the state."

As for the hiker, he has something to be extra thankful for this Thanksgiving week: a safe return.

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