In the early morning hours of 3 May 1999, Skat Flight, comprised of 2 MH-53s and an MH-60G from Air Force Special Operations Command crossed the border into Serbia to rescue Hammer 34, an F-16 pilot shot down during the Operation Allied Force air campaign. The flight departed Tuzla at approximately 0215 and the helicopters raced to pick up Hammer 34 before the approaching sunrise. After the initial crossing, the Serbians fired an intense barrage forcing the team to turn back towards the border to look for a more suitable crossing area. As the flight turned back towards the border, SrA Rich Kelley, the MH-60G Flight Engineer in Skat 14, called out a SAM launch. Captain Bill Denehan, Skat 14 Aircraft Commander, maneuvered the helicopter while Aerial Gunner TSgt Jack Gainer continued to call out the approaching SAM while deploying chaff and flare countermeasures. The aircraft dove down sharp left towards the tree line to avoid the missile. Following the close encounter, Skat Flight crossed the border into Serbia and after a harrowing search located and rescued Lt Col David Goldfein, the 55th Squadron Commander and currently the Air Force General Chief of Staff.
This depiction commemorates the 20th anniversary of this harrowing rescue. The painting was commissioned for Capt. Bill Denehan, AC of the MH-60G of Skat 14 and the rescue copter involved in the physical rescue of Goldfein.