News Lakota Helicopter Dedication

May 16, 2011

There is an army tradition to name helicopters after Native American tribes, related to the heritage of the tribe.

Which is why the Army National Guard found it appropriate to honor the Lakota nation by naming a helicopter after the people.

Four of which will serve in the South Dakota National Guard.

For members of the Lakota Nation, the dedication of new helicopters in South Dakota is a great honor.

Charles Murphy, Vietnam veteran of the Lakota Nation, says, "I guess we're all happy, and we're all really happy with it."
The Lakota Helicopter is a light utility chopper with a unique mission.

Primarily a medical evacuation chopper, its secondary mission is national defense an embodiment of the Lakota Warrior Spirit.

Cpt. Michael McDaniel, Commander of two Lakota Helicopters, says, "It definitely ties in with what the Lakota people are known for as great defenders of the homeland and defending their people.   And that name is a great name for the aircraft.   It fits well with the aircraft. 

Murphy says, “Our veterans are really proud of it, and we thank the National Guard for working with the veterans with the tribe."

A helicopter to help the relationship between the Lakota Nation and the United States.

Governor Dennis Daugaard says, "Our intent is to try to work harder to have more Native Americans and Lakotans as part of the South Dakota National Guard."

Cpt. McDaniel says, "I think we have gotten a lot better reception than we thought we would get or even hoped to get with this aircraft."

A gift well received by the Lakota people and honored with a blast.

Murphy says, "A lot of people were trying to help to make sure it would become real. And now today it is real."

People representing multiple cultures coming together in the spirit of unity and safety.   The dedication brought out over 650 people.

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