The U.S. Army has been quietly conducting a new classified operation involving at least 10 UH-60 Black Hawks in and around Washington, D.C., for months. This mission came to light after the service asked Congress to shift $1.55 million in funds from one part of its budget to another in order to support the operations and maintenance of the helicopters.
On top of that, the 12th has a far less well-known mission as part of the U.S. government’s extensive “continuity of government” planning to keep running in the event of a major disaster, widespread enemy attack, or other crises. In such a scenario, the battalion would help fly top lawmakers and other senior U.S. government officials to secure sites, including Camp David, Mount Weather, and Raven Rock. You can read more about the U.S. continuity of government planning in this past feature at The War Zone.
The 12th is also responsible for providing airlift for the Army’s unique 911th Engineer Company (Technical Rescue), the service’s premier urban search and rescue unit. The 911th would be critical to helping extract important officials from damaged or collapsed buildings in any contingency. Previously known as the Military District of Washington (MDW) Engineer Company, the unit notably had a chance to demonstrate its capabilities while supporting the response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon. They’re also the only unit tasked to provide this kind of support at the White House.