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Chinooks land at airport for a night

POSTED: November 10, 2008 5:00 a.m.
SARA GUEVARA/The Times

Four CH-47 Chinook helicopters were staged at the Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport.

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Four CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the Georgia National Guard were at Gainesville’s Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport overnight following Tuesday’s election.

Lt. Col Ken Baldowski, a spokesman for the National Guard, said the units were at the airport, but at no time were they called to duty for any election-related uprising.

"They were positioned up there to do exercises with the (National Guard) Quick Reaction Force should they be called," Baldowski said. "The call would come from the governor, and we did not receive any such notification. However, we do make contingency plans."

The helicopters were from the 169th Aviation Squadron of the Georgia Army National Guard, based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah.

"We train as realistically as possible, and we create contingency plans," Baldowski said, adding that National Guard units have been used in preparation for events ranging from the G8 Summit, which brought a number of world leaders to the Georgia coast, to hurricanes and other natural disasters.

The CH-47 is a twin-engine military helicopter that can transport up to 44 soldiers or 10,000 pounds of cargo.

The four helicopters departed Gainesville at midmorning and returned to their Savannah base.



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