Hawaii Army Guard receives medevac helicopters

The medevac Black Hawks differ from current models in that they have an external hoist, a forward-looking infrared radar and the ability to carry six patients on litters


By William Cole
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

KALAELOA AIRFIELD, Hawaii — A new Hawaii Army National Guard unit took delivery of three Black Hawk medevac helicopters Friday at Kalaeloa Airfield, paving the way for a new capability within the islands’ reserve force.

Detachment 1, Company G, 1st Battalion, 189th Aviation Regiment, and its approximately 30 soldiers will provide medevac support to military entities, the Guard said in a release.

Medevac units are in high demand and one of the most requested for deployments, according to the Hawaii Guard.

“(The) basic mission is medical evacuation,” Chief Warrant Officer 3 Phillip Wilson said in a news video released by the National Guard. “It’s basically a wartime function only. It’s not going to be a big enough unit to provide a stateside mission other than disaster support.”

The medevac Black Hawks differ from current Guard models in that they have an external hoist, a forward-looking infrared radar and the ability to carry six patients on litters.

“We don’t really have a medevac platform (now),” Wilson said. “So this will definitely help if there are a lot of casualties that the local counties aren’t able to support, or if there is a search and rescue operation where additional aircraft are needed. This aircraft can actually identify and hoist them out of really tough terrain.”

Detachment 1 is still filling its ranks, mostly with part-time soldiers.

The Black Hawks were offloaded Friday from C-17 cargo aircraft at Kalaeloa. They will operate out of Wheeler Army Airfield until a new facility at Kalaeloa is completed. The new unit will operate from the $32.6 million Army Aviation Support Facility at Kalaeloa, expected to be completed this month, the Guard said. The 67,000-square-foot center will have a hangar and administrative space for classrooms, conference rooms and offices.

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