HEADQUARTERS U.S. ARMY ALASKA, FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – Aviators from the USARAK Aviation Task Force have been there for people in need in Alaska’s vast Interior, but the 24-7 search and rescue capability is deploying this spring to Afghanistan.
C Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment helicopters and crews are among the 1-52nd Aviation assets deploying in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Without the unit’s full complement of HH-60 medical Black Hawk helicopters, the remaining crews will be devoted to military medical evacuation missions for planned training exercises.
Instead of having a dedicated crew standing by 24-7 in support of the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center, the unit will only provide medevac coverage as needed for the Interior training areas. This “as needed” coverage will be planned out with Range Control well in advance, based off the level of risk for the military training activity.
“We feel the Interior community has become accustomed to our quick reaction time in supporting AKRCC missions,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Eric Collier, USARAK Aviation Safety Officer. “We would like for them to understand that in the event of an RCC request, it could be hours – 5 to 8 hours – based of the status of our aircrews before our aircraft takes off now. This change in coverage is due to the upcoming deployment.”
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