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Airmen deliver new Army helicopter to war zone

by Senior Airman Jacob Corbin
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

4/20/2010 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFNS) -- A C-17 Globemaster III loaded new Army light utility helicopters for delivery to the warfighters April 12 here.

This marked the first time UH-72 helicopters were transferred directly overseas via Air Force transport.

The C-17 assigned to the Mississippi Air National Guard's 172nd Airlift Wing in Jackson, Miss., and it's payload of five UH-72 departed Columbus Air Force Base after several days of on-site preparation.

Traditionally, after being accepted by the Army, pilots will self-deploy the helicopters from their manufacturing area to locations around the contiguous United States, said Army Chief Warrant Officer Five John Jones, the acceptance pilot for the Army light utility helicopter program. The UH-72 is used for medical evacuation, wartime support and field training and is stationed at locations worldwide.

Mr. Jones said this group of UH-72s was different because they were being sent directly to their service locations overseas due to a combination of timing and need.

"Fortunately, there is an Air Force base close by, and everyone has come out to help us with this," Mr. Jones said.

He said the help of the Air Force and other services is crucial for some missions.

"(The mission) flat can't be done if all the services don't work jointly," he said.

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