Kentucky Army Guard unveils new helicopters

Staff Report

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Col. Michael Ferguson, commander of the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade, informs Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson of a computer system in a LUH-72 Lakota helicopter in Frankfort, Ky., April 24, 2014. Abramson was present for the unveiling of the new state-of-the-art aircraft at a ceremony at the Kentucky Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson joined Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini and members of the Kentucky Army National Guard’s aviation community for the inaugural roll out of the Guard’s newest acquisition, the LUH-72 Lakota helicopter at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, Ky., April 24.

The American-made LUH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter was specifically selected and equipped to support the Kentucky National Guard’s homeland security mission. Soldiers of Frankfort-based Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 376th Security and Support will operate the aircraft in their missions to include supporting federal, state and local law enforcement agencies

“I could talk all day about the capabilities of this aircraft, but I will simply say that it increases our ability to respond,” said Col. Michael Ferguson, commander of the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade.

Click here to see more photos from the event.

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A LUH-72 Lakota helicopter takes off at the Kentucky National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility in Frankfort, Ky., March 26, 2014. The Kentucky Guard is scheduled to have six Lakota aircraft to replace the OH-58 Kiowa helicopters. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Ferguson said the new aircraft will strengthen the Guard’s capacity to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.  The Lakota will replace the aging OH-58 Kiowa helicopter.

“These are exciting new aircraft, not only does it look cool, it is cool,” said Tonini who described several technological advances on the helicopter as unlike anything the Kentucky Guard has had before.

Abramson called the new helicopters a sign of the Kentucky Guard’s commitment to the Commonwealth.

“When the adjutant general told me, ‘this is really special, this will give us great capabilities we didn’t have before, they give us a cutting edge opportunity to be responsive and responsible when people of Kentucky are in need,’ I very much wanted to be here today,” he said.

“Unbridled service, that’s what you all provide each and everyday, and to be able to do the job you do, you need the equipment, and the equipment is here once again with these new Lakota helicopters,” said Abramson.

The first Lakota arrived in Kentucky last October, three more are on the ground now, with the final two expected to be delivered in the coming months.

Click here for an earlier story on the aircraft’s arrival in Kentucky.

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