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The 53rd Mounted Patrol for Search and Rescue are indispensable tools in South Dakota. Horses are faster, can carry more supplies to stay out longer, offer a higher viewing platform for searching, and provide a more rested rescue worker when a subject is found. The 53rd horseback unit is also used to transport needed equipment such as medical equipment, block and tackle, litters, and radio equipment.

Doctors or other personnel can be transported in a timely manner as needed. For the rescue, many types of injuries do not prevent rescue on horseback. This cuts recovery time and reduces the number of rescuers needed, since the subject does not have to be carried out of the field on a litter.

As the horse component of an overall team effort, radio relays can be quickly stationed, and trails quickly checked and blocked if needed. Backpacks can be carried on an additional pack horse if needed. Six 40 LB backpacks can be carried on a large pack horse if required, leaving the foot searchers more mobile and not as prone to exhaustion.

While not comparable to dogs for their air-scent capability, horses are quite aware of their surroundings and will alert at anything out of the ordinary, thus warning their rider who may be looking in another direction.

The 53rd Mounted Patrol has carried out a tradition since 1992 of helping others by dedicating time, information, skills, equipment, and money to the relief of suffering, and to the humanitarian cause of saving lives.

Members are trained, willing and able to go out at any time in any type of weather (as long as their own safety is not compromised) to search for lost or missing persons, and to aid and assist them in any way needed including emergency medical care. If required, the 53rd is trained and equipped to physically transport a victim to safety either by litter or on horseback.

The members of the 53rd pay for and maintain their own horses, trucks, and trailers, and self-deploy when called by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (Langley, VA) or by a local, state or federal authority to help with a lost, missing, or injured person.

"It's a ride like no other!"

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