FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. - For the first time in 50 years, the Washington National Guard will fly brand new helicopters purchased just for them and will be based at Fairchild Air Force Base.
The National Guard unveiled the first of six UH-72 Lakota helicopters Friday morning during a ceremony at the airbase.
"We want to make sure that we have Eastern Washington covered with Army National Guard aviation support, we want to be able to respond quickly if they have any kind of emergency here," Washington Adjutant General Major General Bret Daugherty said.
While the helicopters are based here in Eastern Washington, they'll be used to respond to incidents statewide. The six new choppers will play a key role in wildfire response and search and rescue efforts.
The National Guard said having them based in Spokane ensures they'll be able to respond when they are needed.