Clingmans Dome, TN – A Tennessee Army National Guard medical flight crew responded to an emergency air evacuation mission after a victim suffered a stroke while hiking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park area, April 15th, 2021.
At approximately 9:00am, the Tennessee Military Department and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency were notified of a possible stroke victim near Clingmans Dome along the Appalachian Trail, needing immediate medical care.
At 9:40am, the Tennessee National Guard received the official mission request.
A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter from the Tennessee National Guard’s Detachment 1, Company C, 1-171st Aviation Regiment based in Knoxville assembled in under an hour and launched to the incident site at approximately 10:03am.
The flight crew consisted of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel Backus, Pilot in Command, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Trailson Moore, Pilot, Staff Sgt. Donald Sweet, Crew Chief, Col. Robert Ross, Flight Surgeon, Sgt. 1st Class Tracy Banta, Flight Paramedic, and Sgt. 1st Class Giovanni DeZuani, Flight Paramedic.
At 10:18am, the aircraft arrived on the scene, and the flight crew began rescue hoist operations. Ross and Banta lowered to the patient and performed a brief medical assessment; the patient was then mobilized onto a litter and hoisted safely into the helicopter.
Once onboard, the flight crew continued medical aid while enroute to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.
“The administrative portion of the pre-launch process was flawless,” said Col. Jay Deason, the State Army Aviation Officer. “The flight crew immediately jumped into action and began preparing for the mission; everyone was in sync, and that’s the primary indicator that we have a very streamlined process.”
This incident is the first search and rescue mission by the Tennessee National Guard this year.