Case Study

Safe-‘Guarding’ the Dive Lockers of the Guardian Angels

U-Tech’s specialized Master Divers, boat operators, and boat mechanics provide training support to Air Force Special Operations units across the United States and Italy.


U.S. Air Force/Air Combat Command (ACC)

Services Supported

Equipment Maintenance, Logistics, Staff Augmentation


Nine locations in CONUS and One OCONUS

Performed By


A fighter jet goes down and the pilot bails out. An insertion mission is planned for an uncertain environment. A SpaceX flight is launched from Cape Canaveral, FL, to send replacement astronauts to the International Space Station. In all these instances, an elite group of U.S. Air Force personnel called the Guardian Angels, operating under the lead command of the Air Combat Command (ACC), stand ready to rescue men and women who are, or may be, in need. 

While not always operating in water environments, when they must, the Guardian Angels can count on the hours of training, as well as the readiness of their equipment. Wood River Federal ensures that all the diving equipment, as well as equipment and vehicles surrounding training are maintained, delivered, and retrieved to required safety standards.

“We provide oversight to their training and support all aspects of that training mission. We deliver and retrieve boats, ATVs, and even aircraft used in training” says Will Emerson, CEO and President of Wood River Federal. “We don’t participate in their real-world missions.” 

Support for Guardian Angels include

  • Diving initial entry and final exit

  • Water parachuting operations

  • Diving equipment maintenance

  • Boats and outboard motors maintenance

  • All-terrain vehicles maintenance

  • Boat sailing operations

  • Waterborne operations training procedures development

  • Emerging technologies research

  • Diving instruction operations

  • Diving equipment transportation Diving equipment transportation

  • Vessels, boats, and watercraft transportation

  • Drop Zone Controller duties

  • Administrative duties

  • Dive Master supply

  • Boat Technician supply

Wood River Federal currently supports seven of the Guardian Angel’s sites in the United States and abroad.

Wood River’s support includes:

There is a high level of expertise required for the training oversight and maintenance of these critical squads. That’s why Wood River Federal has only the best of the best working with the Guardian Angels. “We are only bringing on team members who are former Navy salvage divers or master divers,” says Emerson. 

This high level of expertise also allows Wood River Federal to help design some of the training required for each squadron’s specific mission.  ACC sets the overall standard to which the Guardian Angels must adhere. Wood River Federal, however, helps with the training structure per squadron they supervise to ensure that each team’s training fits its unique mission and location. Suggested adaptations to the standard training must be approved by ACC, and they most often are given the go-ahead.

Ensuring the equipment is available is one aspect of Wood River Federal’s responsibility; ensuring it works when needed is as important. The equipment is fully inventoried and tracked, allowing for control of parts for repair and lifecycle maintenance. Wood River Federal personnel also stay on top of the latest technology so they can recommend updates to ACC.


Wood River Federal continues to be counted upon. ACC regularly asks them if they will train units outside the squadrons they regularly support. “We do it because it’s part of supporting the overall mission of ACC and the Guardian Angels,” says Emerson

And within the squadrons they regularly support on their contract, 75 percent of the time those squadrons request ACC to allow for more training time with Wood River Federal. Why? “Because the training is going so well, the Guardian Angels want more,” says Don Lipper, general manager of U-Tech, part of the Wood River Federal group of companies.

“That may sound standard to some, but it really goes to show that our guys are highly thought of, and the squadrons see them as one of their own,” says Lipper. 

The government continues to provide high marks to Wood River Federal because of the equipment and personnel support they provide. 

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U-Tech’s specialized Master Divers, boat operators, and boat mechanics provide training support to Air Force Special Operations units across the United States and Italy.
Wood River Federal provides services to support the 325th Fighter Wing (FW), the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group (WEG), First Air Force (1 AF) and Air Forces Northern (AFNORTH). This includes the planning, coordination, and surveillance of the activities necessary to ensure disciplined work performance and timely resources application to accomplish all tasking.