About Tom Pendley

Tom picking fruit in the big 1983 harvest

Tom Pendley is a native of Arizona and grew up on the family apple orchard in Oak Creek Canyon (just north of Sedona). The apple orchard was known as Slide Rock Fruit and Vegetables.

Slide rock was a popular tourist attraction that was a busy scene every summer with lots of swimmers and hikers enjoying the red rocks and water. Of course there were also lots of injuries. “Almost every week the local fire department was called to ‘carry out’ a minor injury and on occasion, there was high angle rescue right in my back yard”.

“In 1985, my family sold the homestead to the Trust for Public lands and it became Slide Rock State Park . The family moved to Phoenix and in 1987, I joined the Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association (CAMRA)”.

I took this photo in 1979, DPS Air Rescue landed in our north orchard to medevac a pediatric patient from an MVA

“I Spent 14 years as an active member of CAMRA. I was very interested in rescue and progressed through the ranks. I was promoted Operatins Leader in 1993 and was elected as team commander for five years”.

My time with CAMRA was very rewarding. Maricopa County is one of the largest counties in the country and



The patient came from this head on. The patient was riding in the bed of the pickup and was catapulted over the side of the bridge. Its 80 feet to the creek. The patient bounced through the branches of a tall tree (background) and was evacuated up from the creek to the LZ.

we had many interesting rescue missions over the years. In my time with CAMRA, I served as swift water coordinator, Alpine coordinator, Mine rescue coordinator and Training Officer. I was awarded the Posseman of the year in 1993.

In 1990 I joined the Peoria AZ Fire Department. My experience with Mountain Rescue gave me an opportunity in technical Rescue. My department was forming a technical rescue team in 1991 and I was able to attend instructor school for the Arizona

The Pendley homestead viewed from the rim in the summer of 1982.

State Fire Marshal Office in 1992. I really enjoyed teaching and taught many rescue courses for ASFMO through the 1990’s.

I became a Paramedic in 1991 and served as a firefighter paramedic on a busy city engine company for many years.

“In 2007, I promoted to Battalion Chief with the Peoria Fire department. Peoria is a department with 140 sworn members. We have  two technical rescue companies and an advanced hazmat company. I have been the special operations manager for Peoria since 2007”.

I completed my career with Peoria Fire as the Deputy Chief of Operations and retired after 26 years in 2016. Today I live with my family in Port Townsend Washington and focus my efforts on developing high quality training media for special operations.




Tom Pendley 2011