Montana has among the many greatest gaps within the nation so far as helicopter protection from the Nationwide Guard.
With the intention to reply faster, the Montana Nationwide Guard has plans to arrange in Billings.
The Guard needs to place a part of its helicopter operation in Billings to make it simpler to answer the jap a part of the state.
The plan is about up in a hangar at Billings Flying Service.
“In ’17, we really performed a search and rescue operation off the Yellowstone River right here,” mentioned Main Rob Allinson, Montana Nationwide Guard public affairds officer. “And we had been solely ready to try this as a result of the aviation unit was really conducting some coaching operations, simply exterior of Billings.”
Allinson mentioned the journey from Helena to Billings can take from 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
“Montana does have one of many greatest gaps in terms of army aviation assist,” he mentioned. “We solely have the one facility in Helena.”
The guard will lease the hangar from Billings Flying Service.
“We function comparable plane, Chinooks and Blackhawks.,” mentioned Erin Heringer, Billings Flying Service vice chairman. “And so, this can be a great place and have loads of synergy having each of our operations in the identical place.”
The corporate’s future with the Guard falls consistent with working with the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Workplace and firefighters.
“A bulk of our operations are forest firefighting,” Heringer mentioned. “You understand, that’s our bread and butter, helps reply to pure disasters. And so having extra assist with the Nationwide Guard right here could be terrific.”
“Fireplace assist, search and rescue winter storm assist,” Allinson mentioned concerning the Guard’s mission. “We now have the UH 60. We now have the CH 47. After which now we have the UH 72 Lakota.”
“Having the ability to have air assist right here, have a presence right here would actually finally have the ability to assist assist our neighborhood in some cool methods,” Heringer mentioned. “So we would be glad to be a part of that with the Nationwide Guard.”
“Hopefully beginning flying operations out of Billings round fall of 2022 might be the earliest that that may occur,” Allinson mentioned.
Jacob’s Engineering Group, Inc. began the environmental evaluation to fulfill U.S. Military requirements final month.
The general public will quickly have an opportunity to remark.