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Home > UNS > 140211-03



USASOAC G-4 helps plan tail number 388’s final flight

by Staff Sgt. Thaddius S. Dawkins II
United States Army Special Operations Aviation Command Public Affairs

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Feb. 11, 2014)  – Soldiers from the United States Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOAC) G-4 have recently been busy coordinating the movement of a 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) (Airborne) MH-60K Blackhawk helicopter following its planned retirement in June.

The G-4 is USASOAC’s staff element responsible for logistics and materiel readiness. They oversee all logistics integration across the Army special operations aviation enterprise. Along with those responsibilities, they also handle occasional requests to transfer USASOAC and SOAR aircraft and equipment to various museums across the nation.

The retiring helicopter, tail number 388, will make its last flight this summer. The aircraft’s final destination, Fort Pierce, Fla, is home to the National Navy Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Museum and the birthplace of the U.S. Navy SEALs.

“We coordinated between the museum staff and board of directors to determine if the artifact is appropriate for display in the SEAL Museum,” said Rick Kaiser, a retired Navy Seal Master Chief Petty Officer and Executive Director of the museum. “This aircraft is directly tied to the history and heritage of the Navy SEALs.”

Kaiser and Army Master Sgt. Joshua M. Boisselle, USASOAC G-4’s Aviation Readiness Branch Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge, further explained how the aircraft ties into the storied history of the SEALs.

According to them, the aircraft was used in an operation to rescue American Jessica Buchanan and her coworker, Poul Hagen Thisted. Both Buchanan and Hagen Thisted were captured by Somalian pirates and held hostage for three months in 2012.

During the operation, SEAL team members parachuted into the objective and engaged the pirates, killing all of them. After the firefight, the SEALs and the two hostages were evacuated by multiple aircraft, which included 388.

With its retirement date nearing and the role it played in the rescue mission, 388 was a prime candidate for the museum’s air exhibit.

“We initially received the formal request in September 2013,” said Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jonathan A. Brock, Chief of USASOAC G-4 Aviation Readiness. “Once we got the request, it had to go through the staffing process and a legal review.”

Brock said so far it’s been a relatively easy process for the aircraft transfer and hopes there are no new hiccups prior to the Blackhawk’s final flight.

The aircraft will be the first Army artifact in the SEAL Museum and Kaiser said he hopes the aircraft will show the strong bond between Army and Navy special operations.

“The relationship between Naval Special Warfare and U.S. Army Aviation has never been stronger,” he said. “The addition of this Blackhawk to the SEAL Museum would solidify that relationship to more than 70,000 visitors that we receive each year.”