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Watch a California Guard Black Hawk crew rescue a man from flood waters

The California National Guard rescued an 81-year-old on Friday after he was swept from his car during a flood, according to an Army news release.

The Guard's Company C/2-135 MEDEVAC was performing aerial reconnaissance during flooding in Greenville, California, when the Plumas County Sheriff's Department diverted them to the rescue.

"It was vital the Plumas [Office of Emergency Services] Director and Sheriff's Search and Rescue Coordinator were onboard to relay the 911 dispatch call and assist our crew in direct navigation to the victim," Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brandon Lynch, the pilot in command of the HH-60L Black Hawk, said in the release.

One of the guardsmen on the Black Hawk used a hoist to lower down and retrieve Rodger McMurtry as he held on to a tree branch in the six-foot-deep water.

"I applaud the crew's quick and decisive actions, which resulted in the saving of a life," Maj. Gen. David Baldwin, the Adjutant General for the California National Guard, said in the release.  "Our partnership with city and county agencies will always ensure our communities are safe."

California Guard rescues man caught in flood

The California National Guard used a Black Hawk helicopter to rescue an 81-year-old California man on Feb. 10, 2017, during a flood. The Taylorsville resident was swept from his car into rushing water over 6 feet deep.

All 23,000 of the California National Guard's soldiers are also on standby in case the Oroville Dam at Lake Oroville, about two hours southwest of where the rescue occurred, fails.

"We are leaning forward and ready to assist with this if needed," Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said on Monday.

The Defense Department also has liaison officers at state emergency centers to help facilitate and coordinate requests for additional help, he said.

More than 100,000 residents who live downstream of Lake Oroville have been told to evacuate after water levels rose so high that it flowed into the emergency spillway, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Officials fear the damaged spillway will collapse, causing floods from the country's highest dam.

Staff reporter Shawn Snow contributed to this report.

Charlsy Panzino covers the Guard and Reserve, training, technology, operations and features for Army Times and Air Force Times. Email her at  

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