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NEWS | Jan. 4, 2023

Tennessee National Guard Rescues Hikers on Appalachian Trail

By Tennessee Department of Military

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A medical flight crew from the Tennessee National Guard conducted an emergency air evacuation mission after two hikers became stranded on the Appalachian Trail Dec. 31.

Shortly after 5:15 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, the Tennessee Military Department and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency were notified of two hikers needing assistance in the Sampson Mountain Wilderness Area south of Johnson City. The hikers were stranded in the dark and surrounded by cliffs and drop-offs. The Greene County Sheriff’s Office received the first call but could not access the hikers, prompting the request for air support.

TEMA approved the mission, and Tennessee National Guardsmen assigned to 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion in Knoxville began preparing a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The crew left shortly after 8:00 a.m. and located the hikers at 8:45 a.m. 

Both hikers were lifted into the aircraft shortly after 9:00 a.m. Paramedics rendered aid during the short flight to Johnson City Medical Center.

The flight crew included two pilots, 1st Lt. Samuel Gibson and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Andrew Redley; crew chief Staff Sgt. Ryan McKnight, and two flight paramedics, Sgt. 1st Class Giovanni DeZuani and Staff Sgt. John Sharbel.

The hikers recovered from minor injuries before being released.



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