08:47 AM

Minn. Members Enjoy Black Hawk Rides

2nd Lt. Joseph Calandra Jr.
Assistant Public Affairs Officer
Minnesota Wing

Forty Minnesota Wing cadets and senior members experienced a vivid lesson in aeronautics as they flew through the clear, cold, blue skies above their hometowns aboard two UH-60 Black Hawks flown from Brandt Airport in Delano.

Their hosts were the Minnesota Army National Guard’s 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade, based in St. Paul, and the wing’s Delano-based Skyhawk Composite Squadron.The Civil Air Patrol passengers hailed from the Skyhawk Hutchinson, North Hennepin and Viking composite squadrons and the Fort Snelling Cadet Squadron.

The day’s activities also included a presentation to 600 spectators, with Guardsmen discussing their military stories and life lessons. The crowd had gathered to see the Black Hawks fly.

Second Lt. Bob Sundheim, the Skyhawk squadron’s deputy commander and organizer of the event, called the turnout “absolutely outstanding.” Afterward, he told the cadets he hoped seeing their hometowns from 2,000-3,000 feet at 120 knots would “inspire their passion and dedication to the mission.”

Sundheim also said he hopes th cadets commit themselves to continuing to work hard and serve those around them, especially now that they had just met so many who benefit from their volunteer service.

One of the Guardsmen who helped arrange the Black Hawk flights was the sponsoring unit’s former operations officer, Maj. Chris Metzger, who’s also a proud CAP dad. His son, Cadet Airman Cor Metzger of the Viking Composite Squadron, flew aboard one of the choppers and described the experience as “really fun and exciting.”

Such activities “really unite people and help show them what’s important – things like country and family,” the older Metzger said.

The participating Guardsmen were all veterans of campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said. Metzger attributed their involvement in the day’s activities to patriotism and a desire to help families have a positive impact in their communities.