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NEWS | Oct. 4, 2011

Missouri Guard members help Navy, Air Force recover helicopter

By Sgt. Sarah E. Lupescu Army National Guard

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri National Guard members helped recover a Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopter that crashed at the Jefferson City airport as it was taking off after refueling on Saturday.

"The Missouri Guard's organized response started Saturday after the accident," said Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kevin Nowack, the state aviation standardization officer. "After the air crew received medical attention, we began looking at clearing the damaged aircraft from the airport so they could resume normal operations."

The airport was holding a public event on the day of the accident. The Missouri National Guard had an OH-58 helicopter display set up and local emergency responders were already on site at the time of the accident. There were no fatalities in the accident.

Several Airmen from the 509th Security Forces Squadron, Whitman Air Force Base, were called on to provide 24-hour security around the damaged aircraft.

Missouri National Guard members began planning arrangements Saturday night to move the helicopter off the runway.

"I was briefed on what was going to happen, when it was going to happen, and who was going to show up," said Army Maj. Vaughn Brown, commander of Company B, 1-134th Aviation Battalion. "Even with short notice, everyone was in the right place at the right time Sunday morning."

The mission was truly joint, with the Army, Air Force and Navy working together.

"The Air Force active duty pulled security, Army National Guard mechanics from Jefferson City and Springfield worked on the helicopter, we had engineers from Macon with a crane, and the attack battalion sent a refuel truck over to defuel the aircraft so we could start working on it," said Nowack.

The 1438th Engineer Company from Macon was one of the first units to arrive after receiving the mission.

"We provided the haul and lift assets," said Army 2nd Lt. Graydon Gaines, the 1438th Engineer Company executive officer. "We brought a crane, two M916 Line Haul Tractor Trucks, and two Humvees."

Guard members from the 1107th Aviation Group, brought in rigging equipment to lift the aircraft with the crane onto one of the tractor trucks for removal from the scene.

The mission continued throughout the day on Sunday without any issues.

"I thought it was a huge success," Gaines said. "No one was hurt and no equipment was further damaged. It is the kind of mission that really makes you excited about being a part of this organization, and seeing the Army and Air Force help out the Navy is a great thing."

After the helicopter was lifted by the crane and placed on a truck, it was transported to a hanger at the Jefferson City airport.



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