An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | Oct. 21, 2022

Washington National Guard Aircrew Rescues Injured Hiker

By Joseph Siemandel, Joint Force Headquarters - Washington National Guard

LEAVENWORTH, Wash. – A Washington Army National Guard medical flight crew from 1st Battalion, 168th General Support Aviation, hoisted an injured hiker out of a heavily wooded area near Leavenworth Oct. 15.

“The hiker suffered a fall approximately five miles from the nearest trailhead, sustained a chest injury, and was unable to self-extract,” said Maj. Kevin Robillard, executive officer for the 1st Battalion, 168th General Support Aviation. “Our crew immediately loaded up and departed in response.”

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ryan Kennedy, the pilot in command, and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Marty Hayes, assisted by Staff Sgt. Travis Bearden, Sgt. Ty Thompson, Spc. Nicholas Ehrenheim and Maj. Danny Jones, launched their Black Hawk helicopter in less than an hour.

Upon arriving and observing the signaling device being used to hail the aircraft, Bearden and Thompson were hoisted to the ground to assess the individual’s injuries before securing him for extraction.

Many trails in the Cascade Mountains are in dense forests or along steep terrain. To perform the mission safely, the aircraft was forced to maintain a solid hover more than 120 feet from the ground to avoid tall trees.

The patient was safely loaded and flown to a nearby ambulance.

“The successful execution of this rescue hoist mission further demonstrates the capabilities and exceptional readiness of our Washington Army National Guard aircrews,” said Robillard.

This type of mission isn’t new to the Washington Army National Guard. In August 2020, a Black Hawk helicopter crew rescued three people injured following a rockslide in hilly terrain just south of Mount Rainier. In July 2015, another Black Hawk crew rescued three isolated hikers in the area of Rimrock Lake near Yakima. In March 2014, following the devastating State Route 530 Landslide in Oso, the Washington National Guard started a search and rescue-focused training in collaboration with Snohomish County.



Related Articles
Washington National Guard members train to prepare for wildfire season at the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Interagency Wildland Fire Training Academy near Roy, Wash., April 30, 2023. The training included familiarization with hand tools, line construction and tactics, and fire shelter deployment and entrapment avoidance.
Washington Army Guard to get new Firefighting Unit
By Joseph Siemandel, | Sept. 28, 2023
CAMP MURRAY, Wash. - Beginning next fiscal year, the Washington Army National Guard will have a new unit primarily focused on firefighting. “The addition of engineer firefighting teams will provide tactical firefighting...

Warrant Officer Catherine Trujillo, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot with C Company, 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment, Washington Army National Guard, sits in the pilot’s seat of a Black Hawk at the Army Aviation Sustainment Facility at Joint Base McChord-Lewis Washington. Warrant officers like Trujillo serve as tactical and technical experts in a variety of fields throughout the Army and Army National Guard. The warrant officer corps turns 105 on July 9, 2023.
Army Warrant Officers Continue Legacy of Technical Expertise
By Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy, | July 7, 2023
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Army Warrant Officer Corps turns 105 this year. On July 9, 1918, the Army created the Army Mine Planter Service as part of the Coast Artillery Corps, forming the warrant officer corps along with it...

Gen. Narongpan Jittkaewtae, commander in chief, Royal Thai Army, and Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the adjutant general, share a laugh at the Washington National Guard Museum at Camp Murray, Wash., on May 25, 2023. During the visit to Camp Murray, Jittkaewtae and his staff got a better understanding of the Washington National Guard’s force structure, training and abilities.
Royal Thai Army Commander Visits Washington Guard Leaders
By Joseph Siemandel, | May 31, 2023
CAMP MURRAY, Wash. - The commander in chief of the Royal Thai Army visited leaders of the Washington National Guard in a State Partnership Program exchange May 25.“I made plans to come four years ago, and wanted to travel...