Commander, Detachment 2, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, hands off the new guidon to senior enlisted leader.

Capt. Christopher Gibb, Commander, Detachment 2, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, hands off the new guidon to Sgt. 1st Class Stefanie Jennings, senior enlisted leader of the 2nd DET at a brief activation ceremony of the unit at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, Oct. 16. Throughout the last five months the 2nd DET has been fielding three new HH-60M Blackhawk Medical Evacuation Helicopters. These new airframes bring a MEDEVAC asset to the Connecticut National Guard that it has never had before. (Staff Sgt. Richard Wrigley, JFHQ, CTNG, Public Affairs)

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. -- Soldiers and civilians alike gathered to witness the beginning of a new chapter in the storied history of the Connecticut National Guard.

Detachment 2, Company C, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, held their official activation ceremony here in one of the hangars at the Army Aviation Support Facility Oct. 16.

The 2nd DET is one of the three detachments of C Co., 3-126th AVN, which are spread out across Vermont, Massachusetts, and now Connecticut. The new unit is the first and only Aerial Medical Evacuation asset within the CTNG.

The ceremony not only served to commemorate the official activation of the unit, but also served to symbolize through ceremony the assumption of command for the unit’s first commander, Capt. Christopher Gibb, commander, 2nd DET, C Co., 3-126 AVN.

“I am just very thankful for the opportunity to take command of this new MEDEVAC detachment and to serve with these great Soldiers,” said Gibb. “I’m truly honored and humbled by this opportunity, and look forward to the challenges ahead.”

It is a steep climb ahead as the pilots and crews of the new unit scramble to train and certify as “mission-ready” on the new airframes they possess.

The 126th AVN was the first unit in the country to receive the new HH-60M Blackhawk Medical Evacuation Helicopter, the 2nd DET’s fleet consist of three of these new aircraft.

The HH-60M is one of the newest generations of the Blackhawk, and differs from the older generations in many ways. One of the most significant ways that the HH-60M is different is that it is solely made to function as a medical asset, whereas older generations were a modular airframe made to be able to handle vastly different missions. This singular focus makes the airframe a much more efficient and powerful MEDEVAC asset that is built with the sole purpose to evacuate those in need of emergency medical attention.

The focus of the new aircraft is not lost to the Soldiers of the 2nd DET.

“From day one, every single person in this formation bought into the mission, which is ultimately to save lives,” Gibb said.

Having such dedicated Soldiers within the ranks of the Connecticut Guard will surely prove to be a boon to its citizens, an estimation Gibb alluded to at the end of the ceremony.

“I believe Connecticut is lucky to have the men and women in this formation serving the state, and I’m lucky to be able to serve alongside of them.”

See more photos and other stories in the November 2016 issue of the Connecticut Guardian.