Air Force Storm Response Includes Hundreds of Airmen, More Than a Dozen Aircraft

Airmen from the Kentucky and Tennessee Air National Guard load a container of cargo onto a Tennessee Air Guard C-17 at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Ky., on Aug. 29 in preparation for Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts in Texas. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck

Hundreds of Guard, Reserve and Active Duty airmen have deployed for Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas and Louisiana, carrying aid, rescue helicopters, and other equipment to help with the massive search and rescue effort.

The storm moved on from Houston, hitting additional cities in Texas and moving toward Louisiana on Wednesday. The storm is expected to reduce intensity to a tropical depression by Thursday morning, but heavy rainfall is expected to linger, according to CNN.

Air Force aircraft and crews have been flowing in this week. The response includes two HC-130Js, three HH-60Gs and 120 personnel from the 41st, 38th, and 71st Rescue Squadrons from Moody AFB, Ga., deploying to College Station, Texas.

Two C-17s from JB Charleston, S.C., carried 30.6 tons of relief supplies to Alexandria, La., on Tuesday. Members of the 14th, 15th, and 16th Airlift Squadrons launched to carry relief cargo and support personnel, according to an Air Force statement.

Eighteen airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron deployed Aug. 27 for Texas, where they are helping with rescue and recovery efforts. Forty three more, augmented by six airmen from the Mississippi Air National Guard, deployed on Tuesday.

Twenty airmen from the Oregon Air National Guard’s 125th Special Tactics Squadron and the 304th Rescue Squadron on Aug. 29 departed for Texas in two Air National Guard C-130s.

The 90th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, Fla., deployed three HH-60Gs and two HC-130Js to NAS Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base on Aug. 28 to help with search and rescue.

The 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard is deploying about 90 airmen, Pave Hawks, and an MC-130P Combat Shadow to Robert Gray Army Air Field in Texas for storm response.

Critical care transport teams from Travis AFB, Calif., left Wednesday for Little Rock AFB, Ark., where they will also help with relief efforts, according to Air Mobility Command.

The National Guard has prepared up to 30,000 guardsmen for storm response, along with aircraft such as RC-26 Metroliners available for surveillance support, Maj. Gen. James Witham, director of domestic operations for the National Guard Bureau, said during a Tuesday briefing.