Wyoming Army aviation is growing

Wyoming Army aviation is growing

8-Apr-2016 Source: US Army

Wyoming Army aviation, which is highly utilized across the state, nation and abroad, is growing. The Wyoming Army National Guard is standing up a second helicopter unit.

A command aviation company will reside alongside the C Company, 5th Battalion 159th Aviation Regiment medical evacuation unit at the Army Aviation Support Facility and will execute missions that were previously impossible due to legal or operational limitations, said Lt. Col. Stacy Roth, state army aviation officer.

“Wyoming has always been a medevac-only unit and there are restrictions on medevac aircraft imposed by the Army, so (there have been) many missions we have been unable to do or must ask special permission to do,” Roth said. “Since we are picking up a CAC unit, none of those intricacies will apply which will better enable us to support domestic operations missions.”

The new 30-person unit will receive its four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters courtesy of Los Alamitos Armed Force Reserve Training Base in Los Alamitos, California, and federal budgeting and military policies.

Army National Guard aviation has been a staple in Wyoming since the 1970s. In 1975 the 1022nd Medical Detachment was federally recognized. It later became the 1022nd Medical Company, and was finally transformed into Charlie Med Company in 2007.

Charlie Med also known as Cowboy Dustoff, is the most deployed unit in the Wyoming Army National Guard. Its missions include aeromedical evacuation, movement of patients, medical personnel, equipment and supplies to include blood products, combat search and rescue, and air crash rescue support.

When in Wyoming Charlie Med’s missions include assisting with Domestic Support to Civil Authorities taskers.

Those missions may be firefighting or, like one of its more recent tasks, search and rescue of lost snowmobilers.

“If we want to put sheriffs on our aircraft to help with a search mission (now), we can’t do that – not with our red-cross aircraft. Since we are picking up a CAC unit, none of those intricacies will apply which will better enable us to support domestic operations missions,” said Roth.

The new unit comes to Wyoming thanks to guidance set forth in the February 2014 Aviation Realignment Initiative. ARI required the Army conduct a reorganization of aviation units in order to modernize the fleet and make it more capable and efficient. This guidance came as a result of budget cuts mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

“We were one of two or three states in which the National Guard gained aircraft. One of the major determining factors for who would receive UH-60 aircraft was whether each state was a medevac only unit or not, which Wyoming was,” Roth said.

In order to acquire the unit, the Wyoming Army National Guard had to do some creative restructuring with units and personnel, which was also a result of personnel cuts mandated in the BCA.

“We lost one platoon out of our Charlie Med medevac unit, but then we gain 30-some soldiers to support this new company,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Rich Burger, Wyoming Army National Guard force integration officer.

The addition of aircraft, personnel and missions will only aide in expanding the already impressive mission set that is characteristic of Wyoming Army National Guard aviation. It will better allow the organization to closely serve and support local and statewide missions that better assist Wyoming communities while also carrying out an important federal mission.


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