CHEYENNE - Four Platte County warriors will be heading to Afghanistan soon to fly wounded soldiers and civilians out of harm’s way to safety and medical care.
The Wyoming Army National Guard hosted a deployment ceremony in Cheyenne for G Company, Second Battalion, 211th Aviation who will be traveling to Afghanistan after stopping at Fort Bliss, Texas for additional mobilization training with troops from New Jersey, New York and Mississippi.
The soldiers of the G Company, commonly call the Golf Company, are trained in medical evacuation - often shortened to medivac. Each team consists of two pilots to fly the Black Hawk helicopter, crew chief and a flight medic. The team flies in to pick up wounded individuals and takes them to a higher level of medical care.
“There’s 29 of us going and we’ve been working together for over a year,” explained Wheatland native Logan Koerwitz, pilot and commander of the division. “We love our job and our mission and it’s time to get to work doing it.”
Scott Koenig, the son of Mike and Ann Koenig of Wheatland, is also a pilot and is second in charge of the platoon. He explained that the medics are really the rock stars. “We use speed to get them where they need to be, and they save people.”
The group also includes aviation mechanics that keep the helicopters in superb working order like Guernsey resident, Andrea Geringer who is a graduate of Wheatland High School.
Governor Matt Mead spoke at what would be his last official appearance as the Commander-in-Chief of the Wyoming Armed Forces. It was a fitting ending as his first appearance had been at a deployment ceremony for the same company back in 2011. He said he was honored to be at the podium to send off, “the best in the nation.”
“Thanks for the job you do here and abroad. It gives me great hope for the future,” Mead said with reverence. “The most important guests here today are the families of the soldiers being deployed.”
Several soldiers were commended for their part in search and rescue missions across the state over the past year including Platte County’s Koerwitz, Koenig and Brenden Krejci.
The ceremony was held at the Joint Forces Readiness Center in Cheyenne and the public was invited. The medical evacuation company is the most deployed unit in the Wyoming Army National Guard. This will be the sixth time the unit has deployed personnel and UH-60 Balck Hawk helicopters since Sept. 11, 2001.
Lloyd and Maxine Koerwitz of Wheatland are the grandparents of Logan and they drove down to Cheyenne to attend the ceremony and wish their grandson well in his upcoming adventure. Lloyd is a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War.
“I’m just super proud of him and all he has accomplished,” said Lloyd of Logan. “It’s good to have him go. It is better if we can keep the main population from knowing what war is really like.”
The deploying soldiers are from Colorado, Oklahoma and the Wyoming communities of Bear River, Carpenter, Casper, Cheyenne, Guernsey, Laramie and Wheatland. The division is scheduled to be on active duty oversees for nine months.