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Category: 66th Theater Aviation Command

Sep.
14th

Washington National Guard sends two copters to fight fire

The Washington National Guard deployed two helicopters equipped with water buckets Friday morning to assist firefighter efforts in Central Washington.

A five-member crew is aboard a twin-rotored Chinook helicopter carrying a 2,000-gallon bucket, and a four-member crew is flying on a Blackhawk helicopter equipped with a 660-gallon bucket.

They are headed to the Wenatchee Complex fire. You can read the Wenatchee World’s ongoing coverage of the fire by clicking here.

“We are proud to support efforts already in progress in Chelan and Douglas counties, anad we will do all we can to keep the flames from people and structures,”

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Aug.
14th

WA Guard back in business of fighting fires – first time since 2009

The Washington National Guard today sent two helicopters to join in the effort against the blaze in Kittitas County, marking the first time the state Military Department participated in a wildfire fight since 2009.

Last year, we reported that deployments had depleted the Washington National Guard’s firefighting resources among its aviation crews during the summer. Luckily, it was a wet year and the crews weren’t needed.

Today, the guard sent one four-person crew in a CH-47 Chinook with a 2,000 gallon water bucket and a three-person crew in a UH-60 with a 660 gallon bucket to participate in

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April
13th

National Guard to honor deployed citizen-soldiers Sunday

The Washington Army National Guard will officially thank about 180 citizen-soldiers who put their lives on hold for a year to support Operation Enduring Freedom during a ceremony Sunday, April 15.

The Freedom Salute ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The citizen-soldiers are assigned to the 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation, known as the Raptor Battalion, who returned home in February from Kuwait. The battalion flies and maintains UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.

The battalion deployed to Iraq from May 2007 to May 2008.

The ceremony is part of a National Guard campaign to publicly acknowledge citizen-soldiers and their

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Feb.
14th

WA National Guard aviators home from Kuwait in time for Valentine’s Day

About 180 Washington National Guard soldiers came home from the desert last weekend, ending a yearlong deployment in Kuwait.

The soldiers flew and maintained UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters to support American aviation assets in the Middle East and in Afghanistan. They belong to the 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation Regiment, and are based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The Army calls the unit the “Raptor” battalion.

“We are thrilled to have the Raptors home.  They are a vital asset to our state and nation, and having them home safe is an early Valentine’s Day gift
for all of us,” said Maj. Gen.

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Sep.
13th

Deployments make WA National Guard helicopters mostly unavailable for fire season

Washington firefighters turned the corner on a 4,200-acre wildfire this weekend without one of their traditional allies –  helicopter crews from the Washington National Guard.

Most of the National Guard’s helicopters aren’t available to fight in-state wildfires this month because they’re deployed in Kuwait or recovering from a recent mission in Afghanistan.

State officials say it’s very unlikely they would have called on the Guard even if the aviation units were back home and ready to go.

“We’re confident we’ve had all the resources we’ve needed,” Department of Natural Resources spokesman Bryan Flint said.

The state has not called up

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Oct.
13th

Pros, joes, Sea Gals and an Xbox

RENTON – Tech. Sgt. Brian King can’t count the number of times he’s driven past the Seattle Seahawks’ training facility and wondered what it’d be like to hang out with the players.

He calls himself a “huge, gigantic fan” of the team. He once had an opportunity be a part of an honor guard before kickoff at Qwest Field, an experience he calls one of the highlights of his life.

Until he jammed out to some Aerosmith with tight end John Carlson and defensive tackle Craig Terrill.

“It’s like a dream,” the 34-year-old Air National Guardsmen from Puyallup said Tuesday. “It took a while to digest that I was really here. I couldn’t be happier right now.”

He was one of about 25 soldiers and airmen at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center for the Pro vs. GI Joe event, which had players and service members competing in Xbox 360 games against troops deployed to Qatar.

The Hawks and the joes cracked jokes, posed for photos and talked trash over rounds of Guitar Hero, Call of Duty 4 and Halo. Oversized speakers thumped out the sounds of the video games, and plasma TVs displayed the game and a choppy video feed from Qatar, where troops deployed to Iraq go for a short break from the war.
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