Disaster training ongoing for NV National Guard - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Disaster training ongoing for NV National Guard

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A helicopter takes part in a training exercise involving the Nevada National Guard. (FOX5) A helicopter takes part in a training exercise involving the Nevada National Guard. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Following the historic flooding in northern Nevada, the Nevada National Guard's air unit in Las Vegas is ramping up training.  

"Our mission with these aircraft is civil support and peace keeping kind of missions," Spc. Michael Consul, of Nevada National Guard, said. 

Consul is a specialist aboard the helicopters, meaning he's a medic and his job is to save your life in emergencies.

"They don't make movies about the civilian support and the peace-keeping missions," he joked. "But, we are just as large of a component."

Members of Consul's unit have been called to serve and rescue around the world. Unlike other military units, the National Guard's mission is to rescue civilians. 

"Anything you can imagine, we deal with it," Consul said. "Orthopedic injuries, broken bones, bug bites, gun shot wounds. We have dealt with the whole gamut of issue."

David Aukeman, a warrant officer with the National Guard, is a pilot for the unit.

"The fighter pilot is the quintessential thought when you think of a pilot," he says. "But, no kidding, when it comes down to it on the ground, it is the helicopter us who gets things done."

Aukeman says he's been flying with the Guard for a year but been dreaming of this profession for decades. 

"I've always wanted to fly ever since I was little. My dad would take me to North Las Vegas, this one restaurant. And we would sit on the deck and we'd watch the planes take off," he recalls. 

Aukeman and Consul's unit responds to life-threatening situations every couple of months. When they aren't responding, they're training. During these training missions, the soldiers practice flying and landing in mountainous regions and perfecting hoisting patients to the ground. 

"We are focused on saving and helping people," Aukeman says. 

They train so often because they don't just protect Clark County. They also monitor all the way to Las Vegas, down to parts of Arizona and into Utah, as well. 

"We are always ready and always on call, we can be called at any time," Aukeman says. 

And even though they've been doing this job for quite some time, they still know and understand they hold people's lives in their hands.

"It's incredible! It's something I don't take lightly," Aukeman said. "I am, thankful every single day I get to do what I get to do."

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