LATHAM, N.Y. - Sergeant Ed Rose, an electrical maintenance technician at Army Air Support Facility #3 checks "under the hood" of the UH-60 Firehawk for properly operating equipment while local news media looks on.
The New York Army National Guard will be lending its specially-equipped fire-fighting aircraft to the state of California under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) which is an agreement between all 50 states and four territories to share emergency management duties.
"In state government, we have a responsibility to protect our citizens. We also have the moral obligation to provide assistance to other states when the need arises. This is such a time." said New York State Governor David Paterson.
The helicopter will be initially manned and operated by pilots and crew from the Florida National Guard in the absence of Firehawk trained New York pilots and crew who are training at Fort Sill, Okla. for a deployment to Iraq later this summer.
The California Army National Guard will assume responsibility and cover all costs associated with New York's aircraft until after the fire season is over sometime in October, 2008.