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 on Mount Adams, Wash on Sept. 25, 2022.
The mission started 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 recover an injured climber on Mount Adams.
At 7:53 p.m., a USAAAD UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter departed Yakima Training Center for the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office where the aircrew picked up two civilian search and rescue volunteers from Central Washington Mountain Rescue.
“We flew to the reported location of the injured climber and were able to safely land the aircraft to deploy the CWMR personnel to assess the patient,” said Maj. Alec DeGroat, USAAAD commander who was also the pilot in command of the mission.
The CWMR volunteers had to climb approximately 400 feet of a rocky slope, and then lead the patient back to the helicopter in complete darkness.
The aircrew transported the patient, a 48-year-old male, to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital where the patient is expected to make a full recovery.
“Thanks to the steadfast professionalism of everyone at the Sheriff’s Office and Central Washington Mountain Rescue, this was another mission where a life was saved and everyone involved in the rescue made it home safely,” DeGroat said.
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.