FORT RUCKER, Ala. — The Medical Evacuation Concepts and Capability Division received the first and only HH-60L static display in the Department of Defense, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021.
“It’s been a year in progress. The aircraft was brought in on a truck, and it’s a capability development device that we’re going to use to help inform and modernize the HH-60 fleet and how we look forward to future systems,” said Col. Samuel Fricks, division chief of the MECCD.
The aircraft was transported from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, to Fort Rucker on a truck. Using a crane, the helicopter was placed next to the MECCD building where it will remain temporarily while the parking lot is renovated into a concrete display pad.
Fricks said that for the MECCD, the focus is on “materiel and non-materiel solutions” to fix gaps in Army medicine as it continues to modernize and grow.
The aircraft, 03-26995, served in the 507th Medical Company and Company C, 2d Battalion, 4th Aviation Brigade before being retired as a Category B maintenance trainer. Last year, it was no longer needed as a trainer and transferred to the MECCD. The DUSTOFF Association provided a monetary gift to Fort Rucker that will fund the construction of a permanent mooring for the aircraft.
The aircraft will serve multiple purposes at its final resting point. Flight paramedics can simulate treating patients, determine the amount of space required to complete critical care tasks in the cabin, and even determine requirements of autonomous systems that fly themselves.
The MECCD falls under the under the Army Futures Command, Medical Capabilities Development Integration Directorate, Futures and Concepts Center. It serves as the Army's capability developer for all air and ground systems used for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), and represents the users in the acquisitions process.
"If it has to do with MEDEVAC, it comes through this office," said Fricks.
The acquisition and restoration of this Black Hawk capability device was coordinated by Donald Choate, a combat development analyst with MECCD, who worked in conjunction with William “Todd” Richburg and John Hannon. Richburg is the H-60 training aids and devices manager, Aircraft Products Manager, managing Black Hawks divested from the military, and John Hannon, the product director for UH-60 Maintenance Devices.
The process of restoring the helicopter to cosmetic functionality seemed to flow easier with the amount help being pitched in, thanks to Bryant W. Clark, a production specialist for USfalcon, Inc. at Joint Base Langley-Eustis. Clark managed putting 995 together and worked with Hannon to load and deliver the aircraft.
The aircraft will be accessible for evaluation and to study the amount of cube space inside to help capitalize on the medical evacuation procedures. It will also serve as a focal point for pictures, promotions, and other ceremonies for the Aeromedical Professionals at Fort Rucker.
The pad for the retired HH-60L Blackhawk is anticipated to be completed in the spring, with a debut by March.