NEWS | May 4, 2022

AK army aviation unit earns coveted Governor’s trophy for first time

By Staff Sgt. Katie Mazos-Vega Alaska National Guard Public Affairs

The Alaska Army National Guard’s Golf Company, Detachment 2, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion received the Alaska Governor’s Trophy and the Alaska Governor’s Distinguished Unit Citation in a ceremony held at Bryant Army Airfield, Alaska, April 29, 2022.
 
This is a historic achievement for the aviation unit and the Alaska Army National Guard as a whole. Since the award’s inception in 1970, the Alaska Air National Guard has taken home the Governor’s trophy every year, which makes G CO, 2-211th GSAB the first Army Guard unit to win it.
 
Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, Alaska National Guard adjutant general, presented the awards on behalf of Governor Michael Dunleavy.
 
“The number one thing I hear when visiting western Alaska is ‘When is the Guard going to come?’ You bring a sense of calm. People respect you and want to see you,” said Saxe.  “What you have done is truly impressive, and you are more than deserving of these awards.”
 
Throughout 2021, the medical evacuation unit maintained a busy schedule. The unit rescued 15 Alaskans in life or death situations around the state, which led to recognition at the national level with a feature in Vertical magazine, a publication popular within the aviation industry.
 
Their hard work also led to earning the Jolly Green Rescue of the Year award last November and the National Dustoff Association’s Rescue of the Year Award.
 
In addition to rescue missions, G CO, 2-211th GSAB partnered with more than 400 Soldiers from the Indian Armed Forces to support the Yudh Abhyas Indo-U.S. bilateral training exercise. During the exercise, they taught Indian Army Soldiers hoist techniques, prolonged critical care, and immediate triage care.
 
Golf Company’s primary missions are to provide aerial medical evacuation, combat casualty care and aero-medical support at the state and federal levels.
 
The recognition generates many positive emotions for the MEDEVAC unit. Sgt. 1st Class Damion Minchaca, readiness non-commissioned officer, G CO, 2-211th GSAB has been with the unit since its activation in Sept. 2017 and has seen its growth take place over time.
 
“The greatest part about receiving these awards is it’s about the team,” said Minchaca. “It really speaks to what the unit is. We are a cohesive team that comes together and completes the mission, no matter what happens. If we keep the teamwork and the cohesion, there’s nothing our unit can’t accomplish.”