Five Wheatland High School graduates “have slipped the surly bonds of earth” in their careers. These men all graduated within five years of each other and chose both military and civilian flying careers. This is the fifth article of a series.
WHEATLAND — Logan Koerwitz (WHS Class of 2004, son of Wayne and Monica) was very close to completing a biology degree. But labs were a problem when full-time Army National Guard requirements made it impossible to finish on campus. However, online courses from Dakota State University got him that degree after which he went on to complete officer candidate school, was commissioned as an officer in 2014 and went straight to flight school. His intentions are to continue gaining experience in helicopters, move to fixed-wing planes and when he retires from the military become a commercial pilot. During this time, Koerwitz will strive toward a master’s degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in California.
Logan’s grandfather is Lloyd Koerwitz, a World War II veteran here in town. Along with his other grandfather, an uncle and his son, there is a proud history of military service in the family.
“I have always been incredibly impressed by how proud they are of their country and their service and I wanted an opportunity to test myself in the service,” said Logan.
After flying as a passenger on a Black Hawk in 2013, “… I decided that I had to work towards becoming an aviator.” When a flight school seat came open in 2014, he was selected.
“Undoubtably it is was the best thing I have ever done; completing flight school is my proudest accomplishment,” Koerwitz said. After his first flight, he “was hooked for life.”
Koerwitz is stationed with the Active Guard Reserve of the Wyoming Army National Guard as a MEDEVAC platoon leader, G Company, 2nd Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment in Cheyenne.
“I love the MEDEVAC mission because it is focused on taking care of soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending our nation … It is challenging and time sensitive and any time we get a real-world mission is an adrenaline rush that is unbelievable.”
They do rescues involving lost or injured in areas where ambulances can’t reach.
“We get to make multiple contributions to help Wyomingites across the state,” Koerwitz said.
One of these instances involved a 12:45 a.m. call that a hiker had suffered an accidental gunshot wound in the Wind River Mountains between Riverton and Lander. By 2:45 a.m., the crew in a UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter and night vision goggles was on their way.
“En route the sheriff’s office called with the patient’s vitals and the USAF doctor on board told us we needed to hurry as the patient was in bad shape,” Koerwitz said. “The patient was in a very small opening in a very nasty draw in the mountains where we were unable to land. We had to hoist the doctor down while we hovered about 120 feet above the ground (10 feet above the trees). The doctor packaged the patient in a litter and we successfully hosted him out.”
The doctor was hoisted up and a tail-to-tail patient transfer with a civilian Flight for Life transported him to Casper.
“It was the most challenging flight I’ve ever had as we were operating in the middle of the night, with lack of sleep, in incredibly rugged, high terrain and it was a real-life emergency,” Koerwitz said. “I am proud to say the patient survived.”
Despite constant prodding from his family to make his marital status otherwise, this single man offered up a bit of advice to youth still in high school: “Enjoy your time at WHS; I have wonderful memories and friendships from that time. Beyond that, I would tell them to set the bar high, find something they are truly passionate about and become obsessed with accomplishing that goal. I laugh all the time that I get paid to fly helicopters when I would gladly pay to do it. Work rarely feels like work! “