A Washington Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter loads up a water bucket in a lake near Bonney Lake, Wash. on Sept 9, 2020. Washington National Guard flight crews dropped more than 280,000 gallons of water on the Sumner Grade Fire. Courtesy photo
CAMP MURRAY, Wash. –More than 50 members of the Washington National Guard are helping the Department of Natural Resources battle wildfires.
Three hand crews were pulled together Sept. 10 to assist firefighters battling the Whitney Fire in Davenport.
Chief Master Sgt. Mark Soulier, noncommissioned officer in charge of the firefighting crew from the 194th Wing, said the fires and evacuations have hit home for some Airmen.
“It gives us that personal connection to it because it’s our communities, our houses, our families,” said Soulier. “We’ll actually be out there cutting lines and clearing fields and putting out fires.”
For one Air Guardsman, the firefighting mission gives him a chance to support his state and fulfill a childhood aspiration to be a firefighter.
“The National Guard has given me an opportunity to both serve in the military and give me a taste of what firefighting is like,” said Staff Sgt. Jordan Prior of North Bend, who serves in the 262nd Cyberspace Operations Squadron.
While hand crews deployed just this past week, National Guard aviation assets have been fighting wildfires for a month.
In August, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a state proclamation allowing the Washington National Guard to be called up to support wildfire efforts. Two helicopter crews from 96th Aviation Troop Command immediately deployed to Omak, supporting the firefighting efforts on the Palmer Fire.
“We have people that actively volunteer to support the firefighting mission,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Travis Marzolf, a pilot with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation. “This is why they are in the Guard because these missions are important.”
Marzolf and flight crews have been busy this past month, hopping from the Palmer Fire to the Evans Canyon Fire in Kittitas County to supporting wildfire fighting efforts in western Washington at the Mima Fire in Thurston County and the Sumner Grade Fire that threatened homes and businesses in Sumner and Bonney Lake.
“That was a different kind of fire,” Marzolf said. “We normally are out fighting these wildland fires in rural areas that are not super close to a population area. This was very different. The fire was right next to homes. We had to deal with power lines, trees and more obstacles, making it much more difficult.”
Washington National Guard flight crews have dropped more than 1,400 buckets of water – almost 900,000 gallons – on the fires.”It’s a team effort, from the pilots to the guys on the ground talking, to the crew chiefs in the back ensuring the helicopter doesn’t hit anything and operating the bucket to the guys that drive 14 hours across the state to fuel up the helicopters, this is truly a team effort,” said Marzolf. “We are just flying around dropping water. The guys on the ground pulling long days fighting fires deserve a lot of credit.”
Since 1943, ARNEWS has been the Army's premier print wire service with the daily mission of telling the service's story to its internal audiences worldwide. The general public is also a tertiary audience that can now view articles on Army.mil. But the target audience remains the 6 million Soldiers, Family members, retirees, reserve-component troops, civilian employees and contractors worldwide who traditionally read the stories in their command newspapers.
Thirty Seconds Out has partnered with BRCC for an exclusive shirt design invoking the God of Winter.
Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.
Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.
Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.
Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.
A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.
Since the 1920s, a low-tech tabletop replica of an aircraft carrier’s flight deck has been an essential tool in coordinating air operations.
For nearly as long as the Army-Navy football rivalry, the academies’ hoofed mascots have stared each other down from the sidelines. Here are their stories.