STROUD, Oklahoma (July 11, 2022) -- An Army UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter was dedicated by the commanding general of the Mission and Installation Contracting Command to the Sac and Fox Nation in a ceremony July 9 at the Veterans Memorial in Stroud, Oklahoma.
Brig. Gen. Doug Lowrey served as keynote speaker for the dedication of Black Hawk tail number 82-23712, now on permanent display, amidst hundreds of Native Americans from across the nation at a dedication and ceremony at the Sac and Fox Nation Reservation.
“This Black Hawk is where it belongs – alongside the Sac and Fox Nation,” Lowrey said. “Like its namesake, this Black Hawk achieved lofty status through exploits leading warriors into battle. This helicopter served with distinction, and flew Soldiers into and out of harm’s way. This Black Hawk is a credit to the name, and it belongs right here.”
Lowrey, an Oklahoma native of Cherokee descent, met with Native American veterans and leaders of the Sac and Fox Nation prior to and after the dedication ceremony. Private 1st Class Bryce Bailey of the 1st Armored Division helped kick off the event with a Sac and Fox Nation flag song while playing a drum. Also supporting the event were the Seminole Honor Guard and Kiowa Women Warrior Color Guard. Concluding the event, an Oklahoma National Guard UH-60A flew overhead and was on display for the crowd to witness firsthand.
Lowrey, the only Native American general officer on active duty, traces his roots back to Major George “Rising Fawn” Lowrey, the assistant principal chief the Cherokee Nation and member of the executive council in the mid-1800s.
“Throughout our nation’s history, Native Americans have defended our country and served in the armed forces with great courage and distinction,” added the native of Claremore, Oklahoma. “More than 9,000 Soldiers of Native American or Alaska Native descent serve in our Army today, and they are valued members of the Army team who continue a long legacy of professionalism and selfless service.”
Lowrey added that Native Americans have the highest record of military service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups. According to the U.S. Census, there are more than 150,000 veterans of Native American and Alaskan Native descent.
The one-star general spoke of the dedicated helicopter’s history as it deployed overseas three times and served with the 101st Airborne Division as well as the Guard supporting the aeromedical evacuation mission.
“This helicopter played a vital role to ensure your Army is the world’s most powerful and effective land force,” Lowrey said. “With the support of this Black Hawk helicopter, our Soldiers are ready to fight, experienced, lethal and trained to conduct any mission assigned in support of our nation’s security.”
Rickey Cline Sr., a veteran and member of the Sac and Fox Nation, spoke about the UH-60A Black Hawk’s capabilities, and what it means to have a helicopter dedicated to the Sac and Fox Nation.
“They reinforced the undercarriage of the Black Hawk helicopter to protect it from small-arms fire,” Cline said. “They added redundant systems to include a transmission to be able to perform without fluid for 30 minutes. It can transport troops for 380 miles at a top speed of 185 mph. This helicopter has a lengthy history, has been to a couple of wars, and has served in several National Guard units. This Black Hawk has brought our Soldiers home from battle, and now is in its final resting place.
“I’m proud to say I’m Sac and Fox, and we have a bright future ahead of us,” Cline added. “I’m so proud to say this Black Hawk has landed and is home.”
About the MICC
The Mission and Installation Contracting Command is headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. As part of its mission, MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, facilitate training in the preparation of more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.