Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, or the Sugar Bears, have provided assistance to the National Park Service in Denali since the late 80s. This year, two army helicopter crews helped to establish two basecamps along the mountain for the approximately 1,200 climbers expected to seek the peak of the Alaskan beast.
The Sugar Bears, who are based on Fort Wainwright, is a company of CH-47 Chinooks. The crew has helped the National Park Service nearly every year they haven’t been deployed.
“It helps these guys to be able to come to the park and train at altitude. They do some stuff in the eastern Alaska [mountain range] group on Deborah, Hess, and Hayes, but then they can come here and go to 14,000 and 17,000 feet on Denali. It’s kind of an exchange—they get their training, and we get some help every year.” – Ranger Joe Reichert to DVIDS
Look, I’m not a military guy, I don’t come from a military family, and I personally hate the fact that we live in a world where an actively training military has to exist in this country. BUT, seeing that military training programs have the potential to hard core help out organizations that I feel a lot closer to, like the National Park Service, brings a massive smile to my face.