2011 Senate Joint Resolution 43
Relating to: congratulating the 147th Aviation Regiment.
Whereas, the Wisconsin-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment of the Army National Guard mobilized in June 2010 and deployed in September 2010 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; and
Whereas, the 147th was among the 50,000 U.S. troops who remained in Iraq after Operation New Dawn began and who were responsible for all aviation operations—including troop and cargo movements, medevac, and attack missions—in United States Division-South, which covers nine provinces of Iraq, including the area south of Baghdad; and
Whereas, the 147th, known as the "Iron Hawks," is a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter unit that includes soldiers in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana; and
Whereas, the Iron Hawks received the 2010 Army Aviation Association of America's John J. Stanko award; and
Whereas, this is the first such award for a Wisconsin National Guard helicopter unit; and
Whereas, the John J. Stanko Award is presented to the Army National Guard aviation unit that has made an outstanding contribution or innovation to the field of army aviation above and beyond the normal assigned mission; and
Whereas, Lt. Colonel Marty Pond is the battalion commander of the Iron Hawks; and
Whereas, the nature of the 147th's mission in Iraq was outside of normal parameters. Operating with aviation units from Colorado and Kansas as Task Force Ironhawk, the 147th covered all of the United States Division-South — including six bases — performing the highest number of missions of any battalion supporting the 1st Enhanced Combat Aviation Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division (the Big Red One); and
Whereas, during a four-month span, the 147th flew 1,986 missions totaling more than 15,000 combat hours without accidents. Three of the aviation battalion companies moved more than 5,600 passengers and 660,000 pounds of cargo in that time frame, while the fourth provided round-the-clock medevac coverage at four locations, conducting 102 missions and transporting 109 patients; and
Whereas, on the ground, aircraft from three units across six bases were integrated into one maintenance program, with an airframe readiness rate greater than 85 percent. Battalion mechanics provided expert instruction on the UH-60M to contractors and aviation intermediate maintenance units; and
Whereas, one-third of Company E's soldiers cross-trained to learn refueling operations, and improved the process so that one refueling point can serve six Black Hawks. Company E dispensed nearly 900,000 gallons of fuel with no environmental mishaps; and
Whereas, prior to deploying, the 147th was converted to the first Army National Guard air assault helicopter battalion, which involved intensive training and fielding new equipment. Flight instructors with the 147th also trained helicopter pilots from numerous other guard and active army aviation units, resulting in 25 qualified pilots and eight instructor pilots; and
Whereas, warrant officers in the 147th from Wisconsin and Michigan formed a communications security team to train on the new communications system for the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter. The process they developed became the standard used by the Army; and
Whereas, the 147th reported for active duty on June 17, 2010, for its third Middle East deployment. A portion of the battalion first deployed to Iraq in March 2003. The unit also deployed to Kuwait from July 2001 to August 2002 in support of Operation Desert Spring. A portion of the 147th also deployed in support of Task Force Eagle, the NATO peacekeeping operation in Kosovo, in July 2006 for a one-year mission; and
Whereas, the 147th has played an important role in stateside responses, such as the historic mobilization of the National Guard across the country to respond to Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf coast, and the Wisconsin floods of 2008. In 1998 the 147th deployed to Guatemala for several months following Hurricane Mitch; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the senate, the assembly concurring, That the members of the Wisconsin legislature congratulate the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation Regiment of the Army National Guard on receiving the John J. Stanko Award; and, be it further
Resolved, That the members of the Wisconsin legislature express their deep appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice made daily by the members of the Wisconsin National Guard in defense of the United States of America.