KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A Tennessee Army National Guard medical flight crew performed an emergency air evacuation mission for a hunter in Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest on May 4.
At approximately 1 p.m., the Tennessee Military Department and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency were notified of a person with severe leg injuries needing rescue from the Cherokee National Forest. They were in a rugged and remote park area near Boiling Springs.
TEMA approved the mission and Tennessee National Guardsmen, assigned to the 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion, prepared a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to rescue the injured person. The aircrew left shortly after 1:30 p.m. local time and arrived at the rescue site 20 minutes later.
The Tennessee Army National Guard flight crew consisted of two pilots, Capt. Brandon Rodriguez and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Daniel Backus, crew chief Sgt. Nicholas Kannard, two flight paramedics, Sgt. 1st Class Nolan Ogle and Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Banta.
Once the crew arrived at the rescue site, they safely located an area to lower Banta, the flight medic. The crew chief, Kannard, lowered Banta to the ground, where he did a medical assessment of the patient and prepared him to be hoisted into the aircraft. After a few minutes, the patient and Banta were hoisted into the Black Hawk helicopter hovering above, where additional medical treatment was provided. The rescue took just 13 minutes.
Once everyone was safely on board, the aircraft flew to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, where the helicopter landed and medical personnel received the patient. The entire rescue mission took less than an hour and a half.