Fourteen Army National Guardsmen headed south to support ongoing relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma, Sept. 10.
Men and women assigned to the 169th General Support Aviation Battalion took off from the Army Aviation Support Facility in Windsor Locks, Conn. aboard two CH-47F Chinook helicopters and made the nine-hour journey to South Carolina, where they staged in anticipation of follow-on missions. The group saely returned to Connecticut, Sept. 16.
The crew then moved forward to Jacksonville, Fla. and were housed at the Florida National Guard’s own AASF.
“When there are people in need, time and time again the Guard stands up and answers the call,” Maj. Gen. Thad Martin, Adjutant General and Commander of the Connecticut National Guard said in a recent press release announcing Connecticut’s hurricane relief efforts. “We continue to pray for those affected by these weather events, and know that the Guardsmen of Connecticut supporting these relief efforts will remain on duty until the job is done.”
The crew was composed of rotary-wing pilots, crew members and maintainers – individuals specifically trained to provide airlift support for both equipment and personnel if the need arises.
The CH-47F Chinook is a heavy-lift helicopter capable of moving personnel, supplies and equipment weighing up to 26,000 pounds, according to Lt. Col. Raymond Chicoski, State Aviation Officer, CTNG.
The extent of Hurricane Irma’s damage left millions without electricity throughout the Caribbean and Florida, according to multiple sources.
As of Sept. 13, the Total Army response for Hurricane Irma totaled more than 15,000 Soldiers and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civilians in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the continental United States, according to the United States Army.
“Connecticut stands ready to assist our friends and neighbors in the Sunshine State in the days, weeks and months to come,” Governor Dannel P. Malloy said in a recent press release.