Sam Campbell

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (Sept. 11, 2019) – Missouri Task Force 1 of Boone County, which recently returned from a deployment to aid in Hurricane Dorian relief efforts, partnered with the Missouri Army National Guard and Fort Leonard Wood’s Urban Search and Rescue Department Tuesday to conduct hoist operations training at Training Area 235.

Task Force 1 Helicopter Search and Rescue Technicians Liza Babington, Josh Boehm and Nick Klemme rappelled from Blackhawk helicopters piloted by National Guard flight crews to practice aerial extraction of trapped individuals from dangerous areas.

“The most dangerous part is when we transition in and out of the aircraft,” Task Force Leader Chuck Leake said. “Being an expert and diligent on that step of the process is important.”

These areas can include buildings whose lower floors and entrance has been destroyed from natural disasters. In this case, K9 Search and Rescue Specialists Mary Roy and Ellen McGarry acted as victims, stranded on TA235’s towers.

Urban Search and Rescue Instructor Supervisor Juan Gallego commented on the importance of the partnership between the installation and Missouri Task Force 1.

“It’s a coordination between the air wing department of the NG with the civilian task force individuals in using active duty facilities,” he said. “The soldiers that we are training here to be part of the CRNE (CBRN Response Enterprise) are the second wave that’s going to backfill the Missouri Task Force once a true emergency happens.”

Officials said one Blackhawk flew to the post from the National Guard branch in Springfield, while one was already stationed here.

Leake said he valued the opportunity to train at Fort Leonard Wood and thanked the task force’s partners.

“Having this kind of resource in our back yard is a tremendous asset for us,” he said. “This is all brought together and made possible (not only) by the Boone County Fire Protection District but also by the Missouri Department of Safety. We’re proud to be members of this team.”


Liza Babington, Missouri Task Force 1 Helicopter Search and Rescue technician, prepares to be lowered from a Blackhawk as part of joint search and rescue training with the Army National Guard and Fort Leonard Wood’s Urban Search and Rescue Department. This joint training is important for students in the Urban Search and Rescue courses because they will be the ones supporting these missions if an emergency happens, said Fort Leonard Wood Urban Search and Rescue instructor Juan Gallengo. Missouri Task Force 1 recently supported rescue operations following Hurricane Dorian.


A Missouri Task Force 1 Helicopter Search and Rescue specialist is lowered from a Blackhawk during urban search and rescue training Tuesday on Fort Leonard Wood.



About Fort Leonard Wood

Fort Leonard Wood is a thriving and prosperous installation that has evolved from a small basic training post more than 75 years ago to a premier Army Center of Excellence that trains more than 82,000 military and civilians each year.

Fort Leonard Wood is home to the U.S Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and three U.S. Army schools: the U.S. Army Engineer School; U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School; and the U.S. Army Military Police School. In addition to training engineer, CBRN and military police specialties for the Army, Fort Leonard Wood also provides gender-integrated in-processing and Basic Combat Training for new Soldiers.

Fort Leonard Wood also hosts and trains with the largest Marine Corps and Air Force detachments on any Army installation as well as a large Navy construction detachment.

More information about Fort Leonard Wood is at: