USAAAD-YTC conducts life-saving rescue on Mount Adams

By Capt. Kyle AbrahamSeptember 6, 2022

A UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter assigned to U.S. Army Air Ambulance Detachment-Yakima Training Center, 2-158 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade sits atop Mount Adams, Wash. on Aug. 31, 2022. The aeromedical evacuation crew was deploying two civilian search-and-rescue team members to assist in the search for a lost climber. (Courtesy photo by Central Washington Mountain Rescue)
A UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter assigned to U.S. Army Air Ambulance Detachment-Yakima Training Center, 2-158 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade sits atop Mount Adams, Wash. on Aug. 31, 2022. The aeromedical evacuation crew was deploying two civilian search-and-rescue team members to assist in the search for a lost climber. (Courtesy photo by Central Washington Mountain Rescue) (Photo Credit: Capt. Kyle Abraham) VIEW ORIGINAL

YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER, Wash. – Soldiers assigned to the United States Army Air Ambulance Detachment- Yakima (USAAAD), 2-158 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade performed an aeromedical evacuation of a civilian near Mount Adams, Wash on Sept. 1, 2022.

The mission started on Aug. 31 when the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office requested federal support through the Washington State Emergency Operations Center for a high-powered helicopter with hoist capability to assist in the search for a hiker on Mount Adams.

At 12:12 p.m. on Aug. 31, a USAAAD UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter picked up two Central Washington Mountain Rescue civilian search-and-rescue volunteers from the Sheriff’s Office and transported them to Piker’s Peak, the 11,000 foot false summit on Mount Adams, where they were deployed at 1:12 p.m.

A UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter assigned to U.S. Army Air Ambulance Detachment-Yakima Training Center, 2-158 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade flies near Mount Adams, Wash. on Aug. 31, 2022. The aeromedical evacuation crew was assisting civilian search-and-rescue team members in the search for a lost climber. (Courtesy photo by Central Washington Mountain Rescue)
A UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter assigned to U.S. Army Air Ambulance Detachment-Yakima Training Center, 2-158 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade flies near Mount Adams, Wash. on Aug. 31, 2022. The aeromedical evacuation crew was assisting civilian search-and-rescue team members in the search for a lost climber. (Courtesy photo by Central Washington Mountain Rescue) (Photo Credit: Capt. Kyle Abraham) VIEW ORIGINAL

“The collaboration between USAAAD and CWMR significantly benefits the public, especially in remote, high-elevation search-and-rescue situations. CWMR’s hasty team insertion by USAAAD resulted in much faster care for the subject than what would have been possible by ground resources alone,” said Andy Shaw, one of the two CMWR volunteers who flew on-board the Army helicopter.

A UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter assigned to U.S. Army Air Ambulance Detachment-Yakima Training Center, 2-158 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade transports two civilian search and rescue volunteers from Central Washington Mount Rescue to Mount Adams, Wash. on Aug. 31, 2022. The aeromedical evacuation crew were deploying the two civilian search-and-rescue team members to assist in the search for a lost climber. (Courtesy photo by Central Washington Mountain Rescue)
A UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter assigned to U.S. Army Air Ambulance Detachment-Yakima Training Center, 2-158 Assault Helicopter Battalion, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade transports two civilian search and rescue volunteers from Central Washington Mount Rescue to Mount Adams, Wash. on Aug. 31, 2022. The aeromedical evacuation crew were deploying the two civilian search-and-rescue team members to assist in the search for a lost climber. (Courtesy photo by Central Washington Mountain Rescue) (Photo Credit: Capt. Kyle Abraham) VIEW ORIGINAL

Unable to locate the lost climber, the two CMWR volunteers hiked down to the Lunch Counter base camp and spent the night so that they could resume the search in the morning. Early the next morning, on Sept. 1, the hiker was located by another Washington-based volunteer search-and-rescue group, Volcano Rescue Team.

A civilian search and rescue member from Volcano Rescue Team pauses atop Mount Adams, Wash. on Aug. 31, 2022. The search for the missing climber involved two civilian search-and-rescue teams and a U.S. Army aeromedical evacuation UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter. Mount Rainier is visible in the distance. (Courtesy photo by Central Washington Mountain Rescue)
A civilian search and rescue member from Volcano Rescue Team pauses atop Mount Adams, Wash. on Aug. 31, 2022. The search for the missing climber involved two civilian search-and-rescue teams and a U.S. Army aeromedical evacuation UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter. Mount Rainier is visible in the distance. (Courtesy photo by Central Washington Mountain Rescue) (Photo Credit: Capt. Kyle Abraham) VIEW ORIGINAL

“We were called back out to transport the patient in the morning because he couldn’t move on his own. Our aircrew arrived on scene but couldn’t find a suitable place to land the aircraft, so they extracted the patient using the hoist and transported him to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital for treatment,” said Capt. Alec DeGroat, USAAAD commander.

The unit is based out of Yakima Training Center in central Washington. USAAAD operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide aeromedical evacuation support for thousands of service members training at Yakima Training Center each year.

Additionally, the detachment works with the Washington State Emergency Operations Center, local sheriff departments, and civilian volunteers to provide rescue coverage in south-central Washington’s remote wilderness areas.

The life-saving aeromedical evacuation is a collaborative effort. As a detachment with 33 personnel and four aircraft, every member of the team is vital to USAAAD.

The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade operates two aeromedical evacuation units that provide defense support to civil authorities: Yakima Dustoff in central Washington and Arctic Dustoff in central Alaska.

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