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Arizona National Guard Launches Wildfire Response Training and Certification Course

firefighterNational Guard units in Arizona held a two-day annual training and certification course for wildfire responses on May 4 and 5.

The 24-hour training course involved 16 pilots and crew chiefs certified to respond and assist helicopter bucket operations handling such tasks as the delivery of water for aerial firefighting to support first responders upon the arrival of the wildfire season, the U.S. Army said Tuesday.

Justin Jager, interagency aviation officer for the National Parks Service and U.S. Forest Service, said that the Arizona National Guard’s aviation crews can work to assist wildfire fighting efforts.

He added that the development of interagency operability will aid the units in addressing ground troop readiness concerns.

“The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs supports whole community preparedness,” added Wendy Smith-Reeve, deputy director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs.

Arizona National Guard utilizes the Sikorsky-built UH-60 Blackhawk as its primary medium lift utility transport and air assault aircraft for its support services that include lift operations, extraction and insertion of personnel, search and rescue, hoist operations and sling load equipment transport medical evacuation operations, the Army said.

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