Feature story A proud American Indian heritage is recognized for the U.S. Army’s UH-72A Lakota designation

March 5, 2008

Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council President Rodney Bordeaux receives a Lakota UH-72A commemorative plaque from Lt. Col. James Brashear, the U.S. Army’s Light Utility Helicopter product manager.  Photo: Kim Henry.

The U.S. Army has recognized the UH-72A Lakota’s namesake Indian tribe as the military service’s fleet of new Light Utility Helicopters grows and the rotary-wing aircraft meets its mission duties in operational service.

Lakota Indians are part of the seven confederations that compose the Sioux nation, and were known as a peaceful, non-aggressive people that lived by hunting buffalo on horseback. Their reputation is in line with the Lakota helicopter’s role as an unarmed aircraft whose assignments include medical airlift, disaster relief, homeland defense and counter-narcotics operations.

At a recent Redstone Arsenal ceremony honoring the Lakota Indian heritage, Light Utility Helicopter Product Manager Lt. Col. James Brashear presented a commemorative UH-72A plaque to Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council President Rodney Bordeaux.

"It is a great honor to have our name out there now where people can see it," Bordeaux said. "It is an honor to have the tradition of our warriors and veterans going on. We exist today because of our treaty with the federal government."

The Lakota’s name follows a Department of Defense regulation that designations for new Army helicopters be Native American in origin.  Authorization for the Lakota name included approval from a majority of the council members that form the Sioux Nation.

Through the end of February, more than 20 Lakota aircraft have been delivered on time, or ahead of schedule by EADS North America, and the helicopters currently are flying from three Army bases in the U.S.  Program officials said UH-72As are meeting their mission within budget requirements, adding there are plans to expand operations with the rotary-wing aircraft to both Europe and Japan.

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