NEWS | April 26, 2021

Alaska Army National Guard deploys Black Hawk to Bethel for spring floods season

By Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead

The Alaska National Guard will send a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter to Bethel tomorrow as part of the State’s effort to prepare for disaster response during the 2021 spring flood season.


A Black Hawk and aircrew from the 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, Alaska Army National Guard, is scheduled to arrive in Bethel April 27 and will remain until the risk for flooding subsides. While stationed in Bethel, the crew will continue to train on their federal mission and remain ready to respond to any requests for support from civil authorities through the State Emergency Operations Center.


Commissioner for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, traveled to Western Alaska earlier this month to meet with Tribal leaders and citizens in Bethel, Tuluksak and Chevak to discuss disaster assistance measures and processes in light of recent emergencies that have occurred in the region, and in preparation for the upcoming flood season.


While there, Saxe announced that the Alaska National Guard plans to preposition a Black Hawk during flood season for potential natural disaster emergency response, considering the potential threat of flooding along the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers.


A Black Hawk aircrew is equipped and prepared to respond expeditiously to a rapid event that may require evacuation.


The Guard has an aviation facility in Bethel and for many years, one or two helicopters have been stationed there.


However, more than half of the unit’s aircraft and aircrew are currently deployed overseas for a nine-month deployment to Kuwait. They are supporting Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, a mission to increase regional stability, ongoing since 2014.