Air National Guard ‘rodeo’ takes on Peconic Bay Tuesday

09/18/2012 8:00 AM |

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Divers worked in Greenport Harbor by Claudio’s Restaurant Monday setting up for Tuesday’s unusual Air National Guard ‘rodeo.’

Seven teams of Air National Guard rescue squad members will show off their considerable skills Tuesday during an unusual “rodeo” involving an unusual race of inflatable Zodiac boats from Riverhead to Greenport and back.

That competition, and others including precision parachuting over Great Peconic Bay, are part of a week-long reunion of famed pararescue technicians, known also as PJ’s. The five-person Zodiac teams will head out to Greenport starting at 9 a.m., where they must dive without scuba geat into the harbor to retrieve a keg full of water, representing the illegal liquor that flowed into the village during Prohibition, and unlock a cable to free cans of fuel needed to return to Riverhead.

The race “requires a little bit of thoughtful navigation, breath holding and other skills we use in rescues and other missions,” said Master Sergeant Jules Roy, a PJ with the 106th.

The race starts at 9 a.m., with one boat leaving every half hour. The round trip is expected to take roughly two hours.

Check back later in the day for photos of the event.