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    Keeping firefighting helos moving, a joint effort

    Nev Guard fighting Mendocino Complex Fire 1 of 4

    Photo By Spc. Malachi Mansfield | UH-60 Black Hawk touches down after a firefighting sortie, at the Mendocino Complex...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Malachi Mansfield 

    106th Public Affairs Detachment

    CHICO, California- Extinguishing the flames of the of the Mendocino Complex Incident, is no small task. One part of the operation is the Nevada Army National Guard 2/238th Aviation. They were responsible for fueling the firefighting aircraft. The efforts consisted of the 1/189th Aviation CH-47 callsign Mustang and the 2/238th Medevac UH-60 callsign Wolfpack. The Wolfpack dropped 427 buckets of water totaling 310,925 buckets of water in over 80 hours of flight time. Mustang performed 136 bucket drops. They dropped 274,000 gallons in 45.2 hours of flight time. This mission wouldn’t be possible without the utilities and maintenance crew but getting the helicopters in the air has its challenges.

    “I got a call at 7:00 at night, they wanted me to come out with another fuel truck. We showed up at 4:30 in the morning to get the truck ready,” said Sgt. David Jensen, a Fueler for the 2/238th Aviation, Nevada Army National Guard. He said with only one truck at the heliport near Elk Creek, the fuel crew was left having to drive almost 200 miles per trip. This left the aircraft idle and wasted valuable time that could be better spent fighting the fire.

    “It wouldn’t be possible without working together. The mission wouldn’t be functional,” Jensen commented further. The California National Guard provided additional operational readiness by streamlining the fueling process. Even with the additional manpower and fuel trucks, the trucks were still taking long trips. The California National Guard provided a 5,000-gallon tanker, that cut down our travel quite a bit and allowed for faster refueling, Jensen remarked.

    On working with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), Staff Sgt. Melissa Leist, Aviation Operations NCO of the 1/189th General Support Aviation Battalion said “CAL FIRE ensured that all needs we anticipated or came across were always met quickly.” She said Soldiers transformed a field into a heliport and were designed to stage and maintain equipment. The field also provided a place for the crew to rest and recover.

    “Coordination with the different agencies to ensure the soldier’s needs were met is the most important task for operations and being in a remote location required constant communication with the different representatives and our state.” Said Leist.

    As of August 18th 2018 the Mendocino Complex fire is 380,690 acres and with the help of the Nevada National Guard the fire is 77% contained.



    Date Taken: 08.16.2018
    Date Posted: 08.19.2018 18:23
    Story ID: 289398
    Location: ELK CREEK, CA, US 
    Hometown: CARSON CITY, NV, US
    Hometown: MINDEN, NV, US
    Hometown: RENO, NV, US

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