FORD ISLAND, Hawaii -- A few weeks short of the 50th anniversary of the Chinooks' maiden flight, the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and the Hawai'i Army National Guard (HIARNG) held a CH-47F "Chinook" Unit Equipping Ceremony inside the Pacific Aviation Museum, Sept. 8th.

More than 400 Soldiers and guests filled the Pacific Aviation Museum's historic "Hangar 79," along with its collection of original, historic aircraft.

"I can't think of a better backdrop to unveil the 'newest' airframe in our 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and Hawai'i Army National Guard inventory -- the CH-47F," said Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, U.S. Army Pacific Commander (USARPAC). "I've got to tell you that our Army and our industry partners certainly got it right with this aircraft."

"The "F" model being delivered today includes a newly machined airframe, vibration reduction, corrosion protection, digital source collectors, a new engine, an extended-range fuel system, modern missile warning and infrared suppression systems, and is compatible with joint digital connectivity requirements -- nonexistent even a decade ago," said the Lt. Gen. Wiercinski. "In addition to transporting Soldiers and supplies, the CH-47F provides lifesaving combat support and sustainment functions as a medical evacuation, aircraft recovery, disaster relief, and search and rescue platform. Ladies and gentlemen, this helicopter gets the job done."

Throughout both the 25th Infantry Division and Hawaii Army National Guard history, CH-47 Chinook helicopters have played a vital role, and the latest chapters will be written with this newest model.

Major General William Crosby, Program Executive Officer for aviation, said "he was very proud to take part in the ceremony and in transitioning [the new CH-47F Chinook] helicopters to the [25th Combat Aviation Brigade and the Hawaii Army National Guard.]"

"What a great team -- the partnership that I [witnessed] at the airfield and in meetings with the [Hawaii Army National Guard and 25th CAB]," said Maj. Gen. Crosby. "Many people like to enunciate that there are bars or gaps between the two. Clearly what I sense here, is what every organization strives for -- that true partnership, the sharing of experiences, knowledge and teamwork."

Representing the one hundred and sixty five thousand Boeing employees, Pat Donnelly, Director of Domestic Chinook, The Boeing Company, thanked the Soldiers and their families for their sacrifices in order to make America safe and assured those in attendance that the employees at Boeing will continue to construct great products.

"Aircraft like this behind us, [I have watched go from sheet metal on the construction line to its flight test] and I will tell you today that there is no better aircraft out there", said Donnelly. "I might be a little bit biased, but as far as I am concerned it's not only the best cargo helicopter out there, it's the best helicopter in the world."

Donnelly said that this was his fourth ceremony fielding the new CH-47F Chinook helicopter. "I am confident that we gave you a great product. What I would like to do is come back [after your deployment] and have [the aviators] tell me what worked and what didn't work, so we can continue to make this aircraft better," he added.

Posters symbolizing the fielding of the aircraft were unveiled and presented to the Company Commanders of B Co., 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th CAB and to B Co., 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, Hawaii Army National Guard.

Following the presentation, Kahu Kordell Kekoa, Chaplain and overall spiritual director of the Religious Service program for Kamehameha Schools-Kapalama and Pastor of the Bishop Memorial Church performed a traditional Hawaiian blessing on one of the newest CH-47F Chinook helicopters representing the entire fleet of helicopters being fielded.

Page last updated Tue September 13th, 2011 at 20:06