Guard members head out on hurricane relief mission

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 - 12:16
  • This image made from a video shows a view from U.S. Route 59 of flooding on West Bellfort Avenue in Houston, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. The remnants of Hurricane Harvey sent devastating floods pouring into Houston Sunday as rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground. (DroneBase via AP)

Members of the Alaska National Guard are on their way to Texas on a humanitarian mission to help that state recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.

The guard’s 176th Wing left Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Monday, Aug. 28 bound for Moffett Air Field in California, according to a press release issued Monday. After arriving in Texas, the guard members will assist in any way they can.

“Right now, Texas is being overwhelmed and this is how our states help each other,” said 176th Wing Commander Air Force Col. Steve deMilliano.

The guard is sending a total of 13 personnel to Texas, including pararescuemen, combat rescue officers and combat support personnel, the release said. The guard is sending three inflatable boats, and will receive two helicopters from the 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard before arriving in Texas.

The all-volunteer team will “provide humanitarian relief, conduct searches and save anyone in need with aerial- and aquatic-rescue capabilities.”

“I have full confidence they will aggressively pursue this mission and save a lot of lives in this pursuit,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Matthew Komatsu, 212th Rescue Squadron commander.

The hurricane has dumped as much as 50 inches of rain in parts of Texas and has displaced tens to hundreds of thousands of people along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana.


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