Colorado National Guard Trains with Colorado Hoist Rescue Team

A Colorado Army National Guard helicopter crew lowers a member of Mountain Rescue Aspen down to an injured hiker near the North Maroon Bells Peak near Aspen, Colorado, July 24, 2018. The COARNG and the Colorado Hoist Rescue Team incorporate civilian alpine rescue personnel and military hoist helicopter capabilities to improve Colorado search and rescue systems, operations and training. (Photo courtesy Tyler McCready, used with permission)(Photo by Tyler McCready)

CENTENNIAL, CO —FOR RELEASE: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019

The Colorado Hoist Rescue Team, including Colorado National Guard Army Aviation, will host a multi-day training event Sept. 24-26, 2019, at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado.

The training will replicate a real-world missing hiker event near the foothills west of Monument, using a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, followed by proficiency and certification training at BAFB, using an LUH-72 Lakota helicopter.

Civilian first responder agencies participating in the training include Colorado Search and Rescue, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, and the Alpine Rescue Team.

“Many of the helicopter rescues in Colorado involve civilian and military rescuers working as a team to save lives,” The Adjutant General of Colorado U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Loh said. “From a military perspective, these responses increase our readiness for the warfight.”

The CHRT’s mission is to incorporate civilian alpine rescue personnel and military helicopter capabilities to improve Colorado search and rescue systems, operations and training. 

The CHRT possesses specialized equipment and knowledge, allowing them to save lives and minimize suffering when adventurers get lost or stranded in Colorado’s high country. The CONG, through the CHRT, is responsible for almost all hoist extraction rescues in Colorado, saving 21 lives during 2019 alone.   

Colorado Army National Guard Aviation support to SAR operations has existed since the CONG acquired its aviation capability due to the lack of civilian or state hoist-capable aircraft. Situations where a slope is so steep that no part of a helicopter can land on it require military hoist capabilities.

Local jurisdictions initiate SAR requests for CONG aviation assets. They typically route through the Colorado State Rescue Board to the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center to the CONG Joint Operations Center in Centennial. The Joint Task Force – Centennial Commander then tasks the COARNG to support civil authorities to save lives and reduce suffering by providing SAR services.

The COARNG and the CHRT work with elite civilian rescue organizations both domestically and internationally and incorporate the latest SAR equipment to safely complete search and hoist operations in the high-altitude and high-angle terrain found in Colorado and to pioneer hoist techniques and procedures, including the addition of dynamic litter, into military application.

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