163rd Reconnaissance Wing’s 2013 wildfire efforts honored

0
649

The Air National Guard’s 163rd Reconnaissance Wing, March Air Reserve Base, was honored by the Flight Test Historical Foundation (FTHF) at the foundation’s 5th annual Excellence in Aviation Awards banquet June 13, in Los Angeles.

The 163 RW made history when its members remotely piloted the MQ-1 Predator to provide civil support for CAL FIRE to battle the “Rim Fire” surrounding Yosemite National Park in 2013, where more than 250,000 acres were burned.

Colonel Keith Ward, 163 RW vice commander, accepted the honor on behalf of the wing.

“This is a great night,” said Ward. “The 163rd was able do our job, and it wasn’t (just) me. It was everyone.”

For the first time in the nation’s history, a combat asset was transferred to the State Governor’s control to be deployed to battle fires, said Angella Raisian, an FTHF board member.

During an open forum for questions, Robert Baird, CAL FIRE fire marshall,  expressed his gratitude for the 163rd team.

“The support the 163rd provided is groundbreaking,” Baird said, regarding the use of the Predator to battle fires and provide civil support with a combat asset. “It is the future, and it is appreciated by those of us who have to put ourselves and others in harm’s way.”

The Predator was used to capture up-to-the-minute video of forest hotspots, helping firefighters know where to concentrate their efforts. Actual footage gathered from the Predator was shown at the banquet so the audience could see the 163rd’s contributions and accomplishments first-hand. by Staff Sgt. Tiffany Lindemann

452 AMW public affairs

The Air National Guard’s 163rd Reconnaissance Wing,March Air Reserve Base, was honored by the Flight Test Historical Foundation (FTHF) at the foundation’s 5th annual Excellence in Aviation Awards banquet June 13, in Los Angeles.

The 163 RW made history when its members remotely piloted the MQ-1 Predator to provide civil support for CAL FIRE to battle the “Rim Fire” surrounding Yosemite National Park in 2013, where more than 250,000 acres were burned.

Colonel Keith Ward, 163 RW vice commander, accepted the honor on behalf of the wing.

“This is a great night,” said Ward. “The 163rd was able do our job, and it wasn’t (just) me. It was everyone.”

For the first time in the nation’s history, a combat asset was transferred to the State Governor’s control to be deployed to battle fires, said Angella Raisian, an FTHF board member.

During an open forum for questions, Robert Baird, CAL FIRE fire marshall , expressed his gratitude for the 163rd team.

“The support the 163rd provided is groundbreaking,” Baird said, regarding the use of the Predator to battle fires and provide civil support with a combat asset. “It is the future, and it is appreciated by those of us who have to put ourselves and others in harm’s way.”

The Predator was used to capture up-to-the-minute video of forest hotspots, helping firefighters know where to concentrate their efforts. Actual footage gathered from the Predator was shown at the banquet so the audience could see the 163rd’s contributions and accomplishments first-hand.