UH-60 Black Hawks operated by a Wisconsin National Guard crews conducted training May 5 near the Medical Simulation Training Center at Fort McCoy to support an operation that was part of a medical exercise called Operation Ouija.
The Black Hawks were performing a simulated tail-to-tail transfer with C-130 Hercules aircraft from the Air Force Reserve’s 934th Airlift Wing of Minnesota and the 452nd Air Mobility Wing of March Air Reserve Base, Calif., Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs officials said.
"Three Wisconsin Army National Guard units, one Air National Guard unit, one Air Force Reserve unit, and one Army Reserve unit (were) all coming together to train last Friday in a medical exercise called Operation Ouija," stated a Wisconsin National Guard Facebook post on May 12. "For this exercise, pilots and medics with West Bend Aviation picked up patients from who had simulated injuries like lumbar spine fracture, traumatic brain injury, fractured arm, etc. They took them to a simulated Role III medical support area staffed by medics of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s 1-105th Cavalry Regiment Medical Squadron at Fort McCoy's Medical Simulation Training Center. These medics were running point of injury and prolonged casualty-care, medical evacuation scenarios out of multiple locations. There, they also had a forward support surgical team (U.S. Army Reserve’s 911th Forward Resuscitative Surgical Detachment out of Madison)."
The post also states, "Aeromedical evacuations like tail-to-tail transfers happen when a patient needs higher care than what can be provided where they are at, which is what they simulated was the case (in the training)."
Also stated in helping out on the ground with the training was Minnesota National Guard's 109th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, out of the 133rd Airlift Wing who performed a crew swap as the transfer happened.
The Facebook post also stated, "Overall, it was a massive joint effort primarily coordinated by Staff Sgt. Eric Furbee and Sgt. 1st Class Micah Lilligard of the West Bend MEDEVAC unit. They brought together many states, components, and specialties and resulted in invaluable training that goes a long way in ensuring everyone stays trained, ready, and that more service members make it back alive."
And the post included an extra comment from Capt. John Jenkins with the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. “Taking patients through the continuum of care from point of injury to definitive care and evacuation with appropriate care is the most valuable medical training we can do,” the post stated.
Wisconsin UH-60 Black Hawk crews regularly train at Fort McCoy throughout the year.
According to the Army fact sheet for the Black Hawk, its mission is to provide air assault, general support, aeromedical evacuation, command and control, and special operations support to combat, stability, and support operations.
The UH-60 also is the Army’s utility tactical transport helicopter, the fact sheet states. The versatile helicopter has enhanced the overall mobility of the Army due to dramatic improvements in troop capacity and cargo lift capability over the years as well.
Now well into its fourth decade of service, the Black Hawk was developed as a result of the Army’s requirement in 1972 for a simple, robust, and reliable utility helicopter system to satisfy projected air-mobile requirements around the globe, according to the Army Program Executive Office for Aviation.
Named after Native American war chief and leader of the Sauk tribe in the Midwest, Black Hawk, the first UH-60A was accepted by the Army in 1978, and entered service in 1979 when it was delivered to aviation components of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions, according to the office.
Since that time, the Black Hawk has accumulated more than 9 million total fleet hours and has supported Soldiers in every major contingency operation the Army has executed, including Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and throughout the Middle East.
(Article prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office and Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs personnel.)