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Black Hawk helicopters showcased for Iowa National Guard employer outreach day

Utah Army National Guard UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter during airborne training at Fairfield, Utah, June 20, 2012. (Staff Sgt. Stephany Richards/U.S. Army)

Clear Lake and Mason City residents may have seen Black Hawk helicopters flying low in the sky Tuesday afternoon. The flights were part of an Iowa National Guard and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve employer outreach day.

The event was held in part at the National Guard Armory and in part at Mason City Municipal Airport.

Brig. Gen. William F. McClintock welcomed attendees with a brief description of the benefits of having U.S. military service members as employees. He emphasized that Iowans who serve in the National Guard make a commitment of one weekend per month and two weeks over the summer to be ready for any duty they may be called to perform.

The employer outreach day was an opportunity for soldiers to tell business leaders what they do and the skills they have developed in the guard.

Staff Sgt. Madison Dutka has spent six years with the 1133rd Transportation Co. based out of Mason City. She joined at just 17 years old, and along with developing sought-after skills, she has enjoyed the opportunity to connect with other soldiers.

“Being able to build those relationships is important,” she said. “On our Wisconsin mission we had cookouts and would play the guitar and sing at night, and it was just a good time.”

Collin Hall spent nine years with the 1133rd and now works in the maintenance shop as a civilian. He volunteered to talk with participants about the 984A2 recovery vehicle he’s been trained to operate.

Every member of the 1133rd is trained to drive the 915A5 freightliner, but to operate the recovery vehicle requires advanced training.

“I took a 16-day course at Camp Dodge,” said Hall. “Recovery can be complicated with vehicles this size.”

Capt. Nate Hoeger, commander of the 1133rd, sees the soldiers of his company as vital members of the community as well as his unit. He praised ESGR volunteers Becky Coady and Dan Fehr for the efforts they make to connect guard members with jobs, opportunities and services they need to be successful.

Fehr in particular has an excellent sense of what service members need. He’s a former commander of the 1133rd himself.

In addition to employers, Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel, Fire Chief Erik Bullinger and Police Chief Jeff Brinkley were in attendance. The city is one of many employers that recruit current and former military members.

Following the presentation, participants gathered at the Mason City Municipal Airport. There they were divided into three groups and each group took a 20-minute helicopter tour of the area.

Pilots flew out along Highway 122, and upon arriving at Clear Lake, traveled out over the water and along the shore line to give passengers a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful tourist town.

Coming back along 19th Street Southwest, the flight crew came up from the south of downtown Mason City and made a loop around Central Park before returning to the airport.


(c) 2024 Globe Gazette

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