Three Blackhawk helicopters from the Tennessee National Guard’s 1-230th Assault Helicopter Battalion arrived in North Carolina late Monday to assist in the relief effort of Hurricane Florence. All three aircraft are equipped to conduct medical evacuation with rescue hoist capability, as well as transport medical patients, and supplies to those in remote areas.
“Our aircrews are some of the best I’ve had the privilege to work with in my entire Army career,” said Col.
Joe Miller, State Aviation Officer for the Tennessee Army National Guard. “They get a lot of practice with missions in the Smoky Mountains and I’m confident they’ll provide top-notch support to the citizens of North Carolina.”
Like Tennessee’s military police support to South Carolina, North Carolina was able to request this specific capability through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact process whereby states can ask for help in time of crisis, or other natural disasters. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is the mitigating agency for such requests and works regularly with other state emergency management agencies to facilitate these cooperative agreements.
The 1-230th AHB is part of the 30th Troop Command based in Tullahoma. The 30th TC maintains four aircraft with hoist capability in East Tennessee for rescue missions, when called upon, in the Smoky Mountains.
Last year alone various crews of the 1-230th AHB conducted 14 rescues in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In light of the deployment to North Carolina one aircraft will remain on station in Tennessee for any other potential missions.