A few weeks short of the 50th anniversary of CH-47 Chinook's maiden flight, the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and the Hawaii Army National Guard held an equipping ceremony Sept. 8 to welcome the CH-47F Chinook to Hawaii.
More than 400 Soldiers and guests filled the Pacific Aviation Museum's museum's' historic Hangar 79, surrounded by the museum's collection of vintage aircraft.
"I can't think of a better backdrop to unveil the newest airframe in our 25th Combat Aviation Brigade and Hawaii Army National Guard inventory -- the CH-47F," said Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, commanding general, U.S. Army Pacific. "I've got to tell you that our Army and our industry partners certainly got it right with this aircraft."
"The F model being delivered today includes a newly machined airframe, vibration reduction, corrosion protection, digital source collectors, a new engine, an extended-range fuel system, modern missile warning and infrared suppression systems, and is compatible with joint digital connectivity requirements -- nonexistent even a decade ago," said Wiercinski.
In addition to transporting Soldiers and supplies, the CH-47F provides lifesaving combat support and sustainment functions for medical evacuation, aircraft recovery, disaster relief, and search and rescue platform. The CH-47Fhelicopter gets the job done, said Wiercinski.
Throughout both the 25th Infantry Division and HANG history, CH-47 Chinook helicopters have played a vital role, and the latest chapter will be written with this newest model.
Maj. Gen. William Crosby, program executive officer for aviation, said he was very proud to be taking part in the ceremony and in the transitioning the new CH-47F Chinook helicopters to the 25th CAB and the Hawaii Army National Guard.
"What a great team -- the partnership that I [witnessed] at the airfield and in meetings with the [HANG and 25th CAB]," said Crosby. "Many people like to enunciate that there are bars or gaps between the two. Clearly what I sense here, is what every organization strives for -- that true partnership, the sharing of experiences, knowledge and teamwork."
Pat Donnelly, director of domestic Chinook, Boeing Corporation, thanked the Soldiers and their families for their sacrifices to make America safe and assurance those in attendance that the employees at Boeing will construct great products.
"I might be a little bit biased, but as far as I am concerned it's not only the best cargo helicopter out there, but it's the best helicopter in the free world. I am confident that we gave you a great product. I would like to do is come back and have [the aviators] tell me what worked and what didn't work, so we can continue to make this aircraft better, said Donnelly.
Posters symbolizing the fielding of the aircraft were unveiled and presented to the commanders of B Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th General Support Aviation Battalion, 25th CAB, and to B Company, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, Hawaii Army National Guard.
Kahu Kordell Kekoa, a bishop at Bernice Pauahi Bishop Memorial Chapel, performed a traditional Hawaiian blessing upon one of the CH-47F Chinook helicopters representing the entire fleet of helicopters being fielded.
Article by Sgt. Karl V. Williams, Army.mil