Pops tab 2022: National Guard will bring Black Hawk helicopter to Pops at Post

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2022

By Elisabeth Strillacci

SALISBURY — As a way of saying thank you to the community for its consistent support of the local military posts, the Army National Guard will return to participation in June 4’s Pops at the Post, bringing a Black Hawk helicopter, among other equipment, for the public to see up close and personal.

Major Jack Potvin, the 449th Combat Aviation Brigades logistics officer and the supervisory instructor pilot at Army Aviation Support Facility No. 2, said the helicopter will land in the former Wachovia Bank parking lot that Saturday morning before the rest of the event gets set up.

“The wind from the rotors cuts a pretty wide swath, so anyone who wants to be there for the arrival or the take-off should make sure they are at least 150 feet away,” said Potvin. “The Bell Tower Park is probably a good, safe viewing spot.” Potvin said there is not yet a definite arrival time but anticipates it should be about 9 a.m., and said soldiers from Charlie Company 1-131 and equipment will remain on hand throughout the event.

This will be the first time in about eight years the National Guard has been able to participate. Military budget restrictions limited participation in any non-military events for several years, Potvin said, and then COVID restrictions kicked in. He said he’s glad to be able to get back to something his boss started years ago.

“When I started flying here in the Guard, my boss started this as a way of thanking the community for their support,” he said. “It’s always been in evidence, from people saying ‘thank you for your service’ to going to a restaurant for a meeting and having staff come tell us our meals have been paid for, to going to Lowe’s still in uniform and having people come shake your hand, this community has always had our backs. So I’m happy we can do this again.” Soldiers and staff at the local post, located near the MidCarolina Airport, has always been well treated by Rowan County, he said.

Potvin met with Audrey Eudy, one of the event organizers, early in the planning process because he said approvals from the military can take months, and they wanted to be ready this year.

“We are so thrilled to have them with us again,” said Eudy. “They are a big part of this community, and for the kids to get to see the men and women in uniform is wonderful.”

Depending on availability, Potvin said they may also bring a firefighting truck and, if possible, a small flight control tower, so the men and women of the unit can “show off some of the equipment they use.” The helicopter’s doors will be open so people can get photos of themselves or their children inside the aircraft as well.

Potvin joined the military in 2004, serving three years of active duty before taking time to attend college. He then spent a year in flight school and was on two active deployments in Kuwait and Iraq. He is currently assigned to a post in Raleigh, and with active drills the weekend of June 4, is unsure if he will get to the concert personally. But he said he has complete confidence those in attendance will represent the Guard well.