HomeNewsArticle Display

Kentucky Guardsmen deploy to Caribbean for Hurricane Irma response

Kentucky National Guard deploys for Hurricane Irma relief

Two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade are loaded into an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 7, 2017, to assist with Hurricane Irma relief efforts. The two Army aircraft are equipped with medical evacuation equipment necessary to accomplish search and rescue operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton)

Kentucky National Guard deploys for Hurricane Irma relief

Two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from the Kentucky Army National Guard’s 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade are loaded into an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 7, 2017, to assist with Hurricane Irma relief efforts. The two Army aircraft are equipped with medical evacuation equipment necessary to accomplish search and rescue operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AFNS) -- Soldiers from the Kentucky Army National Guard's 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade departed from the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Sept. 7, 2017, for the Caribbean to assist with rescue and recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Approximately 20 Soldiers from Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation, deployed to the Virgin Islands with two UH-60 Blackhawks equipped for medical evacuations. Six Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron also deployed as part of Kentucky's response to provide search and rescue.

"Our main job is to focus on humanitarian efforts and provide medical evacuation and triage, as well as patient transfer from hurricane-affected areas in the Caribbean, especially the Virgin Islands," said 1st Lt. John Kerr, a Blackhawk pilot with the 2/238th. "The mission will be to go where others cannot to rescue and aid any civilian personnel we can."

The Blackhawks were loaded into a C-17 Globemaster III from the Hawaii ANG's 204th Airlift Squadron and are expected to begin rescue operations immediately.

All the Soldiers are trained in rescue hoist operations and swift-water rescue, and can provide expedient critical care en route from hospital to hospital in the area.

With Hurricane Harvey barely in the rearview mirror, and the potential for more hurricanes to follow Irma, the operations tempo of Soldiers in units like these has been at peak levels.

"It's always somewhat hectic at times like these but our leadership is very good at planning and keeping us involved," added Kerr. “Morale is very high, and everyone is excited to be a part of the mission."

It is of the upmost importance for the Soldiers to have perfect communication.

"The hardest part of the mission will be to make sure everyone is on the same sheet of music and communicating effectively," Kerr said.

The unit is heading to the Caribbean without any real timeframe for mission completion.

"We are planning to provide support for a couple of weeks,” said veteran Blackhawk pilot Chief Warrant Officer Steve Knight. “From there we'll re-evaluate and see if we need to swap people out, pull back or whatever the case may be.”

Knight brings more than 38 years of experience to the mission and also has his son as one of the crew members.

Col. Dwayne Lewis, 63rd TAB's brigade commander, was on hand for the departure and was extremely confident in their capabilities.

"Kentucky's aviators and crew members are highly trained in their craft and fully prepared to provide support to our neighbor states," Lewis said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they work to assist residents who have been affected by Hurricane Irma and the potential historic devastation in the Caribbean and Southern Atlantic states."

Engage

Facebook Twitter
#Brrrt! Check out this video of our hawgs training in the Philippines. #Warthog #Pilsung https://t.co/cL8E1oE5Ob
RT @SecAFOfficial: Today, the family & friends of Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole celebrated his legendary life. Dick and the rest of the Dool…
On the 77th anniversary of the #DoolitlleRaid, #USAF leaders, #Airmen, and the family and friends of Lt. Col. Richa… https://t.co/RE4wWGQe4t
.@GenDaveGoldfein to the family of Lt. Col. Richard "Dick" Cole: Your father and grandfather was larger than life. https://t.co/5QnT5IufeN
.@SecAFOfficial pays tribute to the #DoolittleRaiders during the Celebration of Life Ceremony for Lt. Col. Richard… https://t.co/4jlAYfqdCa
The first to take-off from the U.S.S. Hornet on April 18, 1942, is the last to land. We celebrate the memory of… https://t.co/WbkKxHSIY1
RT @PDShinkman: .@GenDaveGoldfein @SecAFOfficial greeting family and friends of Lt. Col. Dick Cole, the last Doolittle Raider who passed aw…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Join me today as "big blue" gathers with family & friends to celebrate one of the rare giants of the #GreatestGenerati
.@GenDaveGoldfein and 11 air chiefs plunge into deep discussion on the changing nature of #space.… https://t.co/T8aKZI8rHj
RT @AFmuseum: #OTD 1942: U.S. Army Air Forces, led by Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, carried the Battle of the Pacific to the heart of the Japan…
RT @SecAFOfficial: A touching moment memorialized. Condolences to the family. https://t.co/1TyRMPZiwA
If only the Wright Brothers could see how far we've come... If only they knew the number of reasons why our pilots… https://t.co/AeQ3I1u8lm
.@NATO's largest medical exercise, Vigorous Warrior 19, ensures readiness, strong partnerships for #USAF medics &… https://t.co/RqHoq37nfF
.@SecAFOfficial unveiled a new and ambitious Science & Technology Strategy designed to better identify, develop and… https://t.co/HHWiK7vNNq
.@USAFCENT's depot liaison engineers turn aircraft maintenance-speak into engineer-speak. Read how here:… https://t.co/9sSjxNQ8ys
#CMSAFWright to @PeteAFB #Airmen: You can’t help others if you aren’t taking care of yourself. Don’t think it’s sel… https://t.co/qCeZINGESb
Checkout how @81trwKeeslerAFB #Airmen help to strengthen joint leaders & teams on the ground & in the air during ex… https://t.co/pnsdMGouK7
Maintenance #Airmen at #AvianoAB work hard to keep the #USAF lethal & rapidly ready. https://t.co/rJNoIllX7f
#ICYMI, six B-52s and over 400 @TeamBarksdale #Airmen recently deployed for @US_Stratcom’s Bomber Task Force. Watch… https://t.co/yKXoDljLCV
Over 50 aircraft from six nations partnered for Exercise #FrisianFlag over the Netherlands. See how the… https://t.co/xsma7g7trW