In October, Woodland Trailmen were given the opportunity to tour an Army aviation facility. National Guard helicopter crews fly a variety of missions, from security operations to disaster relief. They might be transporting troops or aiding medical evacuations. The Trailmen were able to see firsthand, a helicopter crew practicing medical rescue mission.
Their “tour guide” explained that aviation is more than just about pilots. In fact, every member of aviation, from pilots to crew chiefs to mechanics, is vital to accomplishing a mission. The Trailmen were surprised to see, and get to sit in a crawl over, a fleet of military vehicles used to support the mission. Although sitting in the cockpit of an actual Army helicopter was the highlight of the trip, most of their questions cam about in the mechanics bay. Every helicopter has its own team of mechanics to ensure it’s always running efficiently, and it was fascinating to see several helicopters being worked on.
They ended their tour in the command center. It was explained to them that in the event of a natural disaster, Guard pilots drop water and food and save those in harm’s way. They are trained to fly in any weather and take off or land in high-risk situations. However, each mission takes a tremendous amount of planning and preparation.