By Mr. Sam Campbell (Leonard Wood)September 12, 2019
Missouri Task Force 1 out of Boone County, which recently returned from a deployment to aid in Hurricane Dorian relief efforts, partnered with the Missouri Army National Guard and Fort Leonard Wood's Urban Search and Rescue Department Tuesday to conduct hoist operations at Training Area 235.
Task Force 1 Helicopter Search and Rescue technicians Liza Babington, Josh Boehm and Nick Klemme rappelled from Blackhawk helicopters piloted by National Guard flight crews to practice aerial extraction of trapped individuals from dangerous areas.
"The most dangerous part is when we transition in and out of the aircraft," Task Force Leader Chuck Leake said. "Being an expert and diligent on that step of the process is important."
These areas can include buildings where lower floors and entrances have been destroyed from natural disasters. In this case, K9 Search and Rescue specialists Mary Roy and Ellen McGarry acted as victims, stranded on TA235's towers.
Urban Search and Rescue Instructor supervisor Juan Gallego commented on the importance of the partnership between the installation and Missouri Task Force 1.
"It's a coordination between the air wing department of the National Guard with the civilian task force individuals in using active duty facilities," he said. "The Soldiers that we are training here to be part of the CR and E (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Response Enterprise) are the second wave that's going to backfill the Missouri Task Force once a true emergency happens."
Officials said one Blackhawk flew to the post from the National Guard branch in Springfield, while one was already stationed here.
Leake said he valued the opportunity to train at Fort Leonard Wood and thanked the task force's partners.
"Having this kind of resource in our back yard is a tremendous asset for us," he said. "This is all brought together and made possible (not only) by the Boone County Fire Protection District but also by the Missouri Department of Safety. We're proud to be members of this team."
(Editor's note: Additional photos can be found online at https://www.flickr.com/photos/fortleonardwood.)