UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crews from the New York and Connecticut Army National Guards spent May 19 honing the skills needed to turn a helicopter into a fire-fighting machine at the New York National Guard’s Camp Smith Training Site.
Twelve Soldiers flew three UH-60s to practice scooping up, flying and dumping 2.8 tons of water onto a simulated fire using the Hudson River as both a water source and a target.
The purpose of water bucket training is to coordinate, train, and recertify pilots between New York and Connecticut to assist with fighting wildfires.
Helicopter crews that may be needed to fight fires have to train with the buckets, a brand called Bambi Buckets, each spring.
“The most important thing about this mission is building relationships between states and in the future, if we are called upon to work together, we are able to work together seamlessly,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Peter Haack, a New York Army National Guard pilot from Southold, New York.