|Correction to Incorrect Reports
Many reports inaccurately state the Oregon Air National Guard has helicopters standing by to assist the search and/or rescue of the climbers missing on Mt. Hood. The correct information is that the 1042nd Medical Company (Air Ambulance) of the Oregon Army National Guard is the organization supporting the civil authorities with the UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter. There is a distinction between Army and Air National Guard resources.
Every year the Oregon Army National Guard supports dozens of search and rescue operations led by civilian authorities, performs fire fighting, conducts training with first responders throughout the state, and much more, including supporting combat operations in Afghanistan.
There are three types of helicopter in the Oregon Army National Guard:
- UH-60L Blackhawk: http://www.army.mil/fact_files_site/blackhawk/index.html
- OH-58 Kiowa: http://www.army.mil/fact_files_site/kiowa/index.html
- CH-47 Chinook: http://www.army.mil/fact_files_site/chinook/index.html
Weather has restricted the use of Oregon Army National Guard helicopters; however, these aircraft are fully available to support the search efforts when the weather clears if called for by civil authorities who lead the search.
The Oregon Air National Guard flies F-15s -- a twin-engine air-superiority fighter. This aircraft has a vital role in Homeland Defense, but is not designed to support rescues. Please follow this link to the F-15 fact sheet for further clarification:
Capt Mike Braibish