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Editorial: National Guard's helicopter crews deserves this salute to its bravery

Editorial: National Guard's helicopter crews deserves this salute to its bravery

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These Nebraska Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk crew members were honored at a ceremony in Lincoln for braving 50 mph winds and downed power lines to rescue seven firefighters after their boats capsized in frigid floodwaters of the Elkhorn River last year. The helicopter crew, from left: Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nathan Dooley, the pilot; Sgt. Aaron Winberg, crew chief; Chief Warrant Officer 3 Josh Schaaf, pilot in command; and Staff Sgt. Lawrence Lind, medic.

The catastrophic flooding of 2019 threw many Midlanders into frightening, dangerous situations. That applied to the rescuers, too. On March 14, boats carrying seven firefighters on the Elkhorn River capsized near Arlington, plunging the Nebraskans into frigid floodwaters.

It was a desperate situation, but help saved the day: A Nebraska National Guard helicopter crew arrived and despite winds whipping 50 mph and a low fuel supply, they pulled each of the firefighters upward to safety. An extraordinary achievement, and just one of the many helicopter rescues the team provided during the crisis.

The crew recently received awards for their bravery. It’s a fitting salute, indeed.

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