US Army, May 28, 2016 - COATEPEQUE, Guatemala by SA Dillon Davis - The unit brought more than 30 personnel to support the humanitarian mission in a multitude of ways.
“We provide medical evacuation and support for the BTH16G mission here,” said New Hampshire National Guard Sgt. John Blair, 236th Aviation Regiment UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter crew chief. “We also transport personnel and cargo to and from Guatemala City to help keep the mission going. We have done several very important person missions. On a daily basis, we complete daily inspections of the aircraft, carry out flying missions and complete routine maintenance on the aircraft.”
The medical evacuation mission during Exercise BTH16G is essential to the safety of the U.S. service members here.
“If one of our fellow service members was seriously injured, it would be difficult to get them the treatment they need locally, so that’s where we come in,” said Blair. “We provide emergency medical evacuation using our aircraft to transport them to the nearest suitable hospital in Guatemala City.”
Aside from emergency medical support, the aviators play a vital role of transporting personnel and cargo to keep the mission moving forward.
“We have also helped transport important personnel throughout the area of responsibility, expedited travel for Red Cross missions to return Soldiers home for emergency reasons and transported maintenance parts and mail from Guatemala City to the forward operating bases,” said Blair.
It is not as simple as just coming here and doing their everyday job, these aviators had to adapt to a whole new environment.
“A unique aspect of the mission here is that we get to learn rules for operating in local Guatemalan air space,” said New Hampshire National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 4 Daniel Jacques, 236th Aviation Regiment standardization pilot and aviation maintenance officer.
Each country has their own variations of air space rules and regulations and it is imperative that U.S. military pilots know and adhere to them to ensure safety.
The New Hampshire National Guard Soldiers used this mission as a way to continuously improve and hone their skills as aircrew and ground support members.
“For our aircrew and ground support members that haven’t deployed with us, this mission is great training and experience to have before being thrown into combat type scenarios,” said Jacques. “It is a tremendous opportunity to expose our newer members to the way we do business.”
Even beyond the training and mission accomplishments, the Soldiers found additional things to take away from this rendezvous.
“This mission gave me the opportunity to experience a new culture and learn how to accomplish the mission in a whole new environment,” said Blair.