Missouri Guardsmen help recover crashed Navy helicopter
Missouri National Guard Soldiers helped recover a Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopter that crashed at the Jefferson City airport as it was taking off after refueling.
The airport was holding a public event, Oct. 2, when the accident occurred. The Missouri National Guard had a Kiowa OH-58 helicopter display set up and local emergency responders were already on site at the time of the accident. There were no fatalities.
"The Missouri Guard's organized response started Saturday after the accident," said CW4 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."
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 Guardsmen 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 Maj. Vaughn Brown, commander of Company B, 1-134th Aviation Battalion in Jefferson City. "Even with short notice, everyone was in the right place at the right time Sunday morning."
The mission was truly joint operation as the Army, Air Force and Navy worked together on the helicopter recovery.
"The Air Force active duty pulled security, Army National Guard mechanics from Jefferson City and Springfield worked on the helicopter and 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 2nd Lt. Graydon Gaines, the 1438th Engineer Company executive officer. "We brought a crane, two M916 Line Haul Tractor Trucks, and two Humvees."
Guardsmen from the 1107th Aviation Group from Springfield brought rigging equipment to lift the aircraft with the crane onto one of the tractor trucks. The mission continued throughout the day on Sunday without any issues.
"I thought it was a huge success," said Gaines after the helicopter had been transported to an airport hangar. "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."
Article by Sgt. Sarah E. Lupescu, Missouri National Guard public affairs