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Air National Guard Intelligence analysts aid Puerto Rico

By Tech. Sgt. Chauncey Reed | 188th Wing, Arkansas Air National Guard | Oct. 5, 2017

EBBING AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Ark. – Air National Guard Intelligence Analysts of the 188th Wing are supporting hurricane disaster relief in Puerto Rico by providing situation reports and imagery of damage and potential risks so workers on the ground can better assist those affected.

The Airmen working in the Arkansas Unclassified Processing Analysis and Dissemination (UPAD) station are analyzing imagery of the Guajataca Dam in northwest Puerto Rico. The dam is severely eroding and could affect tens of thousands of individuals in the area if it collapses.

Tech. Sgt. Danny (last name withheld), 188th Wing intelligence analyst, said, "Eleven billion gallons of water are in the reservoir. Relief workers are moving to place barriers to slow the water flow and reduce the rate of erosion." Danny continued, "It is important that we repair the damage to ensure the safety of people and to prevent additional infrastructure damage. This is a main water source and a power source because it’s a hydroelectric dam, so its failure could affect the population in multiple ways."

Immediately after Hurricane Harvey, the Arkansas UPAD began working assessments of damage, debris, and roads. After coordinating with agencies like FEMA, NASA, NOAA and the Civil Air Patrol, the analysts prepare briefings with imagery each day, and also prepare erosion estimations on the dam. The overhead imagery offers a bird’s eye view for the workers on the ground, enhancing their incident awareness, and increasing their ability to aid Puerto Ricans.

"To me it's very gratifying to do stuff where you are helping out, and can see the difference. Doing what the National Guard was built for, assisting other states and territories," Danny said. "It’s cool to see our capabilities cannot only be used for war but for humanitarian operations to help people."