Two of South Dakota’s own Army National Guard assets will be joining the lineup at the Let Freedom Fly International Airshow this Memorial Day Weekend in Pierre, SD! We’re excited to he hosting a Sikorsky HH-60 “Blackhawk” and an Airbus UH-72 “Lakota”.

Located in 22 communities across the state, the SDNG has more than 4,100 service members that can provide overwhelming capability and capacity to the governor before and after disasters strike.

A majority of the SDNG responses involve wildland fire support providing aerial water suppression assistance using HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crews and ground support personnel. When not dropping water, flight crews are also picking up people in need, assisting stranded or injured hikers, fire crews, and providing other medical support.

The SDNG can be called up by the president or governor to assist local, state and federal agencies in protecting domestic critical infrastructure and to provide support to law enforcement, homeland defense and defense support of civil authority activities in support of national objectives. 

Native American Connection

You may have noticed there’s a pattern in U.S. Army helicopter names – Apache, Black Hawk, Chinook and others. These crucial aircraft are all named after Native American tribes or figures. 

The tradition of naming helicopters after Native Americans was once an official regulation. That regulation no longer stands, but the tradition continues. To learn more about this fascinating historical story, CLICK HERE!

Sikorsky HH-60 “Blackhawk”

The HH-60 is a “multi-tool” for military and civilian support missions. While the Black Hawks are primarily used for troop medical evacuation, they can also be used to support aerial reconnaissance, search and rescue, and wildland fire suppression missions.

The helicopters also feature a built-in medical interior, which includes an integrated litter system capable of handling up to six patients and an integrated oxygen generating system for onboard patient care.

The HH-60M’s ability to mount an external fuel system adds an additional 400 gallons of fuel and increases its range by an additional hour and a half, allowing crews to respond to emergencies throughout the state without the concern of fuel stops.


Airbus UH-72 “Lakota”

The UH-72 Lakota is a highly versatile and reconfigurable aircraft that can be tailored for a range of missions across a variety of conditions and environments. Its missions are as varied as its operating locations, and include training, general utility, search and rescue, reconnaissance, medical evacuation, disaster response, homeland security, counterdrug, command and control and VIP transport.

Since 2006, the UH-72 Lakota has served as the US Army’s Light Utility Helicopter performing an evolving range of missions across a range of operational environments. Derived from the highly successful and operationally proven Airbus H145 family of helicopters, which is used worldwide for law enforcement, emergency medical transportation, search and rescue, offshore and utility operations, and corporate transportation, the Lakota has achieved over 1.3 million flight hours.