1HS exhibits precision, dedication to excellence at Orioles opener

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Amber Russell
  • 11th Wing Public Affairs
Kicking off the sounds of summer, the familiar "whop whop whop" sound of four UH-1N Hueys from the 1st Helicopter Squadron at Joint Base Andrews, Md., highlighted the last note of the National Anthem during a flyover at the Baltimore Orioles' opening-day game at Camden Yards on April 6.

These patriotic displays of military strength and precision require a considerable amount of advanced planning and coordination, but are an important part of showing the American people that their Air Force is the best in the world.

"The 1st Helicopter Squadron represents America and the National Capital Region, though not everybody knows why we're here," said Lt. Col. Julie Grundahl, 1HS commander. "This event is a good show of evidence that we are here supporting the United States of America. Our mission is to provide first-class special airlift missions to our senior DOD leadership and we are also here for contingency response in case of a crisis scenario."

Combining important training for the air crews aboard, flyovers provide an opportunity for the 1HS to hone their skills as they meet similar goals that real-world missions require.

"The formation must be briefed in terms of the type of formation to be flown and the distance between helicopters," said Grundahl. "Particularly, the heaviest planning effort is making sure we keep safety first and meet that time-on-target because you never want to see a late fly-by. You always want to hit it right on target at that ending note of the national anthem."

Communication and attention to detail were among the crucial aspects of planning the formation briefed before undertaking the task of a seamless flyover event.

Captain Matthew Kless, 1HS pilot, was the mission manager for the Orioles game flyover event. He was responsible for briefing all of the pilots of the four-ship formation in detail before hitting the skies.

"Our main priority today is a high-speed, high-quality, four-ship flyover formation for the opening day Orioles game," Kless said during the pre-mission brief to all aircrew members who were a part of the flight. "Let's have our 'A' game on for formation and make this look really sharp."

The hard work, planning and effort put into the flyover were worthwhile, as the 1HS represented the dedication to precision and excellence Joint Base Andrews and the Air Force exhibit daily to the thousands of fans in attendance that day.