September 13, 2017

106th To The Rescue… Again

The 106th airmen, posing for a group shot after returning from Texas. U.S.Air National Guard photo by Daniel H. farrell. (click for larger version)
Just days back from their heroism in Houston, the 106th Air Rescue Wing based out of Gabreski Airport in Westhampton was deployed to the Caribbean to assist in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

As of Sunday night, they'd transported 15,000 evacuees from St. Maarten to Puerto Rico.

A post on the Rescue Wing's Facebook page from Sunday at 1:31 PM reads, "1268 Americans were evacuated from Sint Maarten to San Juan, Puerto Rico on multiple flights September 8-9, 2017. All six C-130 Hercules airplanes carrying out the operation were Air National Guard aircraft flown by the 106th Rescue Wing from New York, 156th Airlift Wing from Puerto Rico and the 123th Special Tactics Squadron from Kentucky. The air guardsmen carried out the noncombatant evacuation operation putting themselves directly in harm's way airlifting those in need under the weather conditions shown here." The post included a satellite weather map showing flights took place just miles from the center of the storm.

The post concluded with the 106th motto, "That others may live!"

Airlift operations were still underway on Sunday afternoon, and by Sunday's end the numbers topped 1500.

The 106th brought two HC-130 King aircraft, three HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters, three Zodiac boats, and 124 airmen required to carry out the mission.

Last Thursday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the deployment, reporting he personally spoke with Governor Ricardo Rosselló of Puerto Rico. Administration officials remained in close communication with counterparts in the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean nations in Irma's path, pledging to help in any way they can.

Another HC-130 from the 106th Rescue Wing deployed from Westhampton Beach on Monday, to transport additional response personnel from the Kentucky Air National Guard's 123rd Special Tactics Squadron to Florida.

The 106th Rescue Wing supports the Air Force's personnel recovery mission. The wing is manned by more than 1000 military and civilian personnel and also performs civil search and rescue missions as well as assisting state disaster relief and other state emergencies as directed by the governor.

The wing sent 124 airmen to assist Texas in recovering from Hurricane Harvey from August 27 to Sept. 1. During their recent deployment to Fort Hood, Texas, and the Houston area, the men and women of the 106th rescued 546 people.

Next stop: Florida.

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