Aug 09 2002
NEW CASTLE, DE - Senator Tom Carper helped the First State usher in the newest era in military aviation today, joining the delegation for a ride in one of Delaware's new UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. The first UH-60 Blackhawks made their debut at a celebration in New Castle today. The new helicopters will enable the Delaware National Guard to carry more troops and more cargo than ever before. Senator Carper made these comments today on the arrival of the Blackhawks: "The Blackhawk helicopter replaces the old Huey, whose roots go back really to the Vietnam War and even before that. The new helicopter, the Blackhawk, goes faster, as much as 50% faster, it carries more passengers, it carries a greater external load, it'll fly longer, and has more power. It's just a far better weapons systems and aviation platform than the old Huey that it replaces. "Today, more than ever we need for our Guard and Ready Reserve forces to be able to be called to active duty and to deploy almost at a moment's notice and to be able to engage in missions around the world, both in peace time and in times of conflict. "This aircraft greatly increases the capability of the Delaware Army National Guard and frankly, our Armed Forces, to do its mission, not just in Delaware but throughout the country and world, where they may be called to perform. "It's important to be able to attract and train excellent flight crew. It's important to be able to recruit and train excellent ground support personnel, including maintenance crew. "At the end of the day, we need aircraft and helicopters that will fly, that are capable of doing the mission that is expected of them. For the first time in a long time, the Delaware Army National Guard now has that capability. "It's a good day for the Delaware Army National Guard, a good day for Delaware, and I think, for our country." Carper completed five years of service as a Naval flight officer, serving in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. He went on to serve another 18 years in the Naval Reserve and retired with the rank of Captain. Carper is a member of the Congressional National Guard Caucus.