Injured Raptor Pair Gets Lift from Arizona Squadron
A routine summer holiday precautionary search and rescue mission July 2 along the Colorado River took an unexpected turn for the Arizona Wing’s Yuma Composite Squadron when members were asked to transport two injured raptors – a barn owl and a prairie falcon – from Lake Havasu City to Yuma.
The squadron’s commander, 1st Lt. Albert Ustaszewski, is also president of the birds’ destination – the nonprofit Vida Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center.
“We rehabilitate sick, injured and orphaned wildlife back to health so they can be released back into the wild,” Ustaszewski said. “The injured raptors were brought here so they can be placed with a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who specializes in raptors.”
This was the first flight of its kind in the wing, and it went smoothly. Pam Short from Vida Wildlife met Maj. Stu Smith and Cadet Airman 1st Class Steven Smith at the airport in Lake Havasu City, and Ustaszewski met the aircrew in Yuma after their 155-mile journey.
“The plane was returning to Yuma from a precautionary search and rescue mission in Lake Havasu City, and I was happy to pick up a couple of additional passengers for the flight home,” Smith said.
Maj. Margot Myers
Public Affairs Officer