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NEWS | April 13, 2023

Wisconsin Army Guard Conducts Aerial Firefighting Training

By Scott Sturkol, Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office

FORT MCCOY, Wis. - Wisconsin Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk aircrew members with the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment, trained to drop water on wildfires April 10 while the Fort McCoy-prescribed burn team completed a prescribed burn.

The burn team includes personnel with the Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department; Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch; Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security; and the Colorado State University Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands.

The Fort McCoy team coordinated with the Black Hawk helicopter and crew to complete water drops on specific areas during a prescribed burn at Training Area B-18 near Badger Drop Zone on South Post.

“It went very well,” said Fort McCoy Forester Charles Mentzel with the Forestry Office of the DPW’s NRB. “Our feedback from them was that it went great, too. There were six drops that were accomplished by them. They told us they got two or three pilots trained. And the prescribed burn accomplished our goal of setting back that area to an oak savannah.”

Mentzel said the burn also reduced fire hazards in the area.

For the April 10 training, the Black Hawk crew used a large bucket to draw hundreds of gallons of water from Big Sandy Lake on South Post and flew a few miles to the drop area.

The bucket training allows Black Hawk flight crews to sharpen their skills for wildfire response. 

More prescribed burns are planned across Fort McCoy during the spring and later in the year as conditions permit.

Fort McCoy, in the heart of the upper Midwest, is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin. Its motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” The installation has supported field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.



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