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.