Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Cindy Glasson
Reporter Photographer 

Blackhawk helicopters fueled up at Hot Springs County Airport


February 1, 2018

Courtesy photo by Nate Messenger

Two Blackhawk helicopters from the Wyoming National Guard fueled up at the Hot Springs County Airport on Saturday.

In spite of speculation on social media over the weekend, the sighting of two Blackhawk helicopters over Thermopolis on Saturday was nothing more than a routine training mission out of Cheyenne by the Wyoming Air National Guard.

The pair of choppers were headed to Powell on Saturday and stopped at the Hot Springs County Airport to refuel on their way home.

The group was a high altitude rescue team that has seen action in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They do rescues at 10,000-11,000 foot elevations, pulling our soldiers out of mountain ranges without actually having to land.

Using a basket, the team can get the military personnel out of harm's way quickly in all kinds of terrain.

Members of the team are all Wyoming natives and are either University of Wyoming graduates or students and certified for this type of flying. They have been used right here in their home state for rescues, including during the fire near Dubois where a firefighter had to be pulled out due to an injury.

Based in Cheyenne, the team flies aroud the state to different locations for training, getting in touch with small airports and their operators as they never know when they may be called on for a mountainous rescue.

When on deployment, just four helicopters cover one-half of whichever country they are in, so the team sees plenty of action.

This particular team is expected to be deployed back to Iraq or Afghanistan in April, where they will spend six months in country.


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