FORT WORTH, Tex. (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Army National Guard Aviation Regiment recently received the 2022 Captain William J. Kossler U.S. Coast Guard Award for its humanitarian efforts during Hurricane Ida.
Officials say when the Category 4 storm swept through Louisiana in September 2021, a six-person Oklahoma crew took a Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopter to Esler Regional Airport in southeast Louisiana to help local and federal agencies conduct numerous sling-load missions.
During their time in the affected area, the team helped move large water pumps, a generator, a fuel tank and other essential supplies over unpassable terrain due to damaged bridges and flooding.
The crew moved approximately 102,000 pounds of critical equipment and supported the transportation of 59 passengers after the hurricane, according to authorities.
On May 13, 1st Lt. Martin Howell, Chief Warrant Officer 3rd Class Zechariah Smith, and Sgt. Nathan Lowber proudly accepted the award at the Vertical Flight Society Annual Forum in Fort Worth, Texas.
Sponsored by the Vertical Flight Society, the Captain William J. Kossler U.S. Coast Guard Award recognizes “the greatest achievement in the practical application or operation of a vertical flight aircraft, the value of which has been demonstrated by actual service during the preceding year.”
Established in 1951, the award honors the memory of a U.S. Coast Guard airman, aeronautical engineer and early advocate of helicopters in search and rescue operations.
Nominated by Boeing, this is the fifth consecutive year that a Chinook operator has taken home the award.
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