CHEYENNE, Wyo. – On Aug. 15, a helicopter crew from the Wyoming Army National Guard, working alongside local agencies, recently completed
a challenging 24-hour rescue mission that spanned two days. Their impressive skills and perseverance showcased the exceptional rescue abilities of these Soldiers.
The harrowing incident unfolded at Box Elder Canyon in Converse County, Wyo., where Ray Daugherty and his companion DJ Gonzales found themselves in a dangerous situation. While ascending the canyon on the evening of August 14, Daugherty tragically lost his grip and plummeted approximately 12 feet onto a rock. Despite this daunting fall, he maintained consciousness and extracted himself from a pool of water below. Regrettably, his arm sustained severe damage due to the impact.
With a swift assessment of the situation, Gonzales quickly ascertained that their predicament required outside assistance. Leaving Daugherty, he climbed out of the canyon and promptly alerted relevant authorities, setting the wheels in motion for an intricate rescue operation.
A dedicated coalition of heroes responded to the call for aid, including Converse County Sheriff’s Office personnel, Converse County Search and Rescue, Glenrock Volunteer Fire Department, Glenrock EMS, and the Wyoming Army National Guard. Their collaborative efforts led to Daugherty’s successful location in the early morning, nearly eight hours after the ordeal began.
Recognizing the necessity of a helicopter lift for Daugherty’s extraction, the Wyoming Army National Guard stepped up to the challenge. While Daugherty’s injuries were not deemed life-threatening, the decision was made to halt the operation until dawn to ensure optimal safety temporarily.
As the sun rose on August 15, a team of skilled guardsmen seamlessly executed an aerial evacuation, airlifting Daugherty to a designated staging area. From there, he was seamlessly transitioned to a Glenrock ambulance and subsequently transported to a hospital in Casper for further medical attention. Daugherty’s journey to recovery was marked by a six-hour surgery, during which his elbow was reconstructed.
The complexity of the operation underscored the dedication of the Wyoming Army National Guard and its commitment to safeguarding lives in challenging circumstances. Yet, the bravery displayed did not end with Daugherty’s rescue.
In a remarkable testament to the unwavering determination of these guardsmen, a subsequent incident unfolded as a first responder encountered distress during their ascent of the canyon. Once again, the Wyoming Army National Guard was called into action. Demonstrating their steadfast courage, they conducted an expedited airlift of the second patient from the canyon, ensuring timely access to medical care at a hospital in Casper.
This incident highlights the extraordinary capabilities of the Wyoming Army National Guard in conducting complex rescue operations alongside local emergency response units, underscoring the dedication and skills of its Soldiers. The guard’s commitment to the safety and well-being of its citizens remains unwavering, making Wyoming a safer place for all.