Tenn. National Guard aircrew rescues stroke victim
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The patient is offloaded at the UT Medical Center helipad by Tennessee National Guard’s Col. Robert Ross (left), Staff Sgt. Donald Sweet (center), and Sgt. 1st Class Giovanni DeZuani (right) after a search and rescue mission along the Appalachian Trails, April 15. (Photo Credit: Tennessee National Guard) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tenn. National Guard aircrew rescues stroke victim
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Tennessee Army National Guard medical flight crew prepares for an emergency air evacuation mission after a hiker suffered a stroke while on the Appalachian Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, April 15. (Photo Credit: Tennessee National Guard) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tenn. National Guard aircrew rescues stroke victim
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Tennessee Army National Guard medical flight crew responded to an emergency air evacuation mission after a hiker suffered a stroke while on the Appalachian Trail, April 15. The flight crew successfully transported the patient to UT Medical Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Tennessee National Guard) VIEW ORIGINAL
Tenn. National Guard aircrew rescues stroke victim
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. First Class Tracy Banta begins hoist operations and lowers to the patient at the Double Springs Gap Shelter on the Appalachian Trail, April 15. (Photo Credit: Tennessee National Guard) VIEW ORIGINAL

CLINGMANS DOME, Tenn. – A Tennessee Army National Guard medical flight crew rescued a stroke victim hiking on the Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

About 9 a.m. April 15, the Tennessee Military Department and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency were notified of a possible stroke victim needing immediate medical care near Clingmans Dome. The Tennessee National Guard received the official mission request 40 minutes later.

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew from the Tennessee National Guard's Detachment 1, Company C, 1-171st Aviation Regiment, based in Knoxville, launched at approximately 10:03 a.m.

The flight crew consisted of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Backus, a pilot in command; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Trailson Moore, pilot; Staff Sgt. Donald Sweet, crew chief; Col. Robert Ross, flight surgeon; and Sgts. 1st Class Tracy Banta and Giovanni DeZuani, flight paramedics.

At 10:18 a.m., the aircraft arrived on the scene and the flight crew began rescue hoist operations. Ross and Banta lowered to the patient and performed a brief medical assessment. The patient was then mobilized onto a litter and hoisted into the helicopter.

The flight crew continued medical aid while en route to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.

"The administrative portion of the pre-launch process was flawless," said Col. Jay Deason, the state Army aviation officer. "The flight crew immediately jumped into action and began preparing for the mission; everyone was in sync, and that's the primary indicator that we have a very streamlined process."

The rescue was the first search and rescue mission by the Tennessee National Guard this year.

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