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Published August 22, 2012, 08:40 PM

Fargo welcomes first UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - For 54 years, North Dakota's Black Hawk Helicopters have been based solely in Bismarck. That changed today.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - For 54 years, North Dakota's Black Hawk Helicopters have been based solely in Bismarck. That changed today.

The skies of Eastern North Dakota have gained a new player as Fargo welcomed its first UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

Lt. Col. Jerry Anderson, State Aviation Officer: “This just enhances the immediate response capability that we have for this area, and it just provides another level of safety and security for the local population.”

The North Dakota National Guard announced IT IS expanding aviation assets into Fargo.

Two more Black Hawks will arrive in 2014, and Lakota and Kiowa helicopters will be stationed on a rotational basis between Fargo and Bismarck.

Until now these helicopters flew strictly out of Bismarck. Now that they're in Fargo, the Guard can more quickly respond to natural disasters and rescue missions.

Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, Adjutant General: “That's really what it's all about, is having the resources, having the capability here to support what is, in fact, the largest population center in the state of North Dakota.”

In recent years, Black Hawks have been frequently used to fight floods statewide.

They can carry up to 22,000 pounds. That's a pretty big load of sandbags.

And they have other advantages for dealing with a flood.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota: “Believe me, there is no way to look at a flooding river other than from above. There's no way you can drive up to it, there just no other way you can make a decision.”

Now, rather than flying these powerful assets in from Bismarck, Eastern North Dakota will have three of its own.

Dignitaries took a ride around Fargo in the Black Hawk after the announcement.

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