NY National Guard Train Helo Evacuation Techniques
When a wounded soldier needs an medical air evacuation (MedEvac) and the helicopter cannot find a place to land they will hoist medics and their patients
US Army, March 16, 2016 - ORISKANY, NY by Capt Jean Marie Kratzer - New York Army National Guard Pvt. Alexis Nasta spent Saturday, her first drill weekend with 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry, dangling two hundred feet above the ground from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
“It was an amazing, awesome experience and it was my first time ever aboard a helicopter,” said Nasta an Oswego, N.Y. resident and a combat medic.
Combat medics like Nasta are responsible for providing first aid training and frontline trauma care on the battlefield.
When a patient needs an air ambulance helicopter and the aviators cannot find a place to land they will hoist medics and their patients, explained Headquarters Company commander, Capt. Gary Clark a resident of Auburn, N.Y.
“She should have first-hand knowledge on how to hoist the patients,” Clark said.
Nasta was one of the forty medics who participated in a medical evacuation training exercise here.
The training involved aviators from F Company, 1st Battalion, 169th General Support Aviation Battalion and Soldiers from Headquarters Company of the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry.
F Company is part of the New York Army National Guard’s 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade.
Company C, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry also conducted training that weekend here.
The training was designed to test Army Guard aviator’s ability to support the infantry battalion in treating and transporting combat casualties on board Company F’s air ambulance helicopters.
The medical evacuation training simulated a medical emergency that involved evacuation, triage, and treatment of a multiple number of casualties.
“Army medical evacuation helicopters are used for combat support and we are here to support the infantry by re-supplying medical equipment, casualty care evacuations and provide advance trauma care in flight,” explained, Staff Sgt. Charles Gabriel, a West Monroe, New York, resident and one of the Company F flight medics.
“The Soldiers were prepared for a long weekend of training at the New York State Preparedness Readiness Center and the company is here to provide communications, medical and transportation support,” Clark said.
“This experience is in preparation for our rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), and also gives us the experience to become a fully combat ready unit, Clark said. “I have 222 Soldiers in the company and we need to maintain a level of proficiency,” he added.
The 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry is preparing for a deployment to the Army's Joint Readiness Training Center, or JRTC, on Fort Polk, Louisiana, in July along with other elements of the New York Army National Guard’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team for the three week exercise.
“We are very fortunate to have the Preparedness Readiness Center close to our unit in Utica, but also the amount of resources they have for us to train is incredible and they are so supportive of us being here,” Clark said.
The Preparedness Readiness Center prepares first responders and military personal the opportunity to gain the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters or terrorist-related incidents.
“We embrace the military’s schedule and we are flexible and want to give them the opportunity to train and accomplish what they need to do,” said assistant director of the New York State Preparedness Readiness Center Robert Stallman.
To start the exercise, two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters flew from Rochester to Oriskany and landed at the New York State Preparedness Training Center – where Headquarters Company and Company C, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry were staying for two nights.
On the airstrip, aviators led Soldiers through cold load training- the helicopter engines were shut down for training purposes- on how to properly load and unload a casualty onto and off from a military helicopter. The crews also practiced hot load training, with engines running like they would be in combat, before the Black Hawks were going to hoist several of the Infantry combat medics.
Soldiers from C Company, spent the afternoon conducting tactical training which included battle drill evaluation lanes, and gave the troops a chance to practice key tasks.
"This was my first experience as a combat medic flying in a helicopter and doing my job, it’s amazing to have to this opportunity," said Spc. John Conklyn a resident of DeRuyter, New York. "I love being out here in the field, I get to see cool things, experience my job and work with a great group of people, "he said.
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New York National Guard US Army Aviation
Sikorsky HH-60M Black Hawk