For several decades now, the UH-60 Blackhawk has served as the workhorse of the National Guard, serving as a vital asset for transporting soldiers, supplies, and anything else needed on the battlefield.
The Blackhawk first underwent development in the early 1970’s and entered service in 1979. Since then, thousands have been built and used by the United States military.
The National Guard utilizes the single-rotor helicopter to complete several key missions. Its most common role is the insertion and extraction of infantry personnel to and from the battlefield. The Blackhawk serves as a fast and effective method for transport, as it can hold an entire squad of 14 infantrymen who are able to rappel, or “fast-rope,” from the helicopter if a regular landing isn’t possible.
The Blackhawk is also capable of holding six full-sized stretchers, which is why the National Guard uses the helicopter in a “med-evac” role to safely deliver casualties to proper medical facilities to be treated.
There are several ways to serve as a Blackhawk crewmember in the National Guard. First, there are the pilot and co-pilot who are in charge of operating the aircraft itself. There are also two crewchiefs for each helicopter who oversee maintenance tasks as well as operate the two side-facing machine guns during flight. Each member plays an integral part of the crew.
As a National Guard Blackhawk pilot, you will be promoted to Warrant Officer after your basic training and flight training at Fort Rucker, Alabama. You will inherit the responsibility of looking after your crew and any passengers aboard your aircraft, regardless of what operational role you are assigned. Crewing aboard a UH-60 Blackhawk is a rewarding career and even gets you ready to become a professional pilot in the civilian aviation industry.