Helicopter lands on campus for medevac exercise

Loading the helicopter up for the medivac. Photo by Robert Curtis

Tiffany Felts

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A helicopter landed in the UNF amphitheater* field on the afternoon of April 8.

Joanna Norris, director of public relations for UNF, said it is a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter.

The exercise gave about 18 cadets the opportunity to fly and be treated in a mock evacuation.

The Florida National Guard and Student Affairs vetted the helicopter for an ROTC medical evacuation training exercise. Major Ryan Pless said they coordinate with National Guard units across the state all the time for training exercises.

“It takes a lot to put in, but it’s about putting forth the effort. It’s about actually having a vision, having a plan and seeing it through.”

The exercise  involved all 60 of UNF’s Army ROTC Cadets. Pless said the juniors and seniors in the program oversaw the drill, the sophomores were responsible for radio communication from two HUM-V’s that were brought in, and the freshman participated as casualties.

Pless said it’s important to train the cadets on medical protocol and educate them for critical missions they may be a part of once they leave UNF.[wzslider autoplay=”true” info=”true” lightbox=”true”]

He said the overall mission is three-fold: it’s a training mission, a retention mission for their internal personnel, and it also gives an opportunity to recruit.

“Our mission is to select, train, and educate future leaders in the Army. There’s a sense of accomplishment when you leave this program and are tied to the university.”

He said they worked some with the university’s Public Relations department on this and felt linking this to UNF could not only help the cadets learn but also draw interest for the program from other students on campus.

* 4/10/14 – Correction made to location name.

Email Tiffany Felts at [email protected]