Happy 50th Anniversary!
Fifty years ago, on March 19, 1970, Maryland State Police flew its first helicopter medevac mission, marking the beginning of half a century of life-saving air ambulance service in the state.
That mission was flown by Maryland State Police “Helicopter 108,” a Bell 206 JetRanger crewed by pilot Cpl. Gary Moore and medic Trooper First Class Paul Benson. The aircraft and crew were called to the scene of a motor vehicle accident with injuries at the intersection of Baltimore Beltway and Falls Road.
The two troopers flew the injured motorist to the Center for the Study of Trauma, known today as the University of Maryland R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.
“It took about three weeks before we got our first call because it was all new all over the state,” said retired lieutenant colonel Gary Moore in a Maryland State Police video published online March 19. “That particular morning in 1970, Paul [Benson] and I were the duty crew and landed on the highway, picked that patient up and took him down to the trauma center. That patient did live.”
The successful air ambulance mission marks the formal expansion of the Maryland State Police into emergency medical services and the first time a non-military agency transported a critically-injured trauma patient from a scene by medevac helicopter.
In the half-century since that first mission, the Maryland State Police Aviation Command has completed at least 180,000 missions and transported more than 150,000 patients. The Aviation Command currently has a fleet of 10 Leonardo AW139 helicopters that are assigned to seven sections located in Allegany, Frederick, Baltimore, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, Talbot and Wicomico counties. Their most
The department in recent years has rescued hikers in Maryland’s mountains and kayakers from the Potomac River and most places in between.
The State has been operating helicopters from the 1960s starting with the Hiller UH-12E it was primarily for police missions but also performing “medical support.” In the 80s the department grew to five Bell 206 Jet rangers thus beginning their EMS route until 2013 when the State acquired two Airbus AS365 Dolphin helicopter. In addition to the Airbus they also acquired a Leonardo AW139.