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Ga. Air Guard provides route clearance in wake of Hurricane Michael

By 2nd Lt. Ronald D. Cole | 116th ACW Public Affairs | Oct. 12, 2018

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2018 Hurricane Response   (Related Site)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — Airmen from the Georgia Air National Guard, 116th Air Control Wing, departed today to provide support to local authorities in Seminole County, Georgia after Hurricane Michael roared through the panhandle of Florida and Georgia yesterday.

A convoy of two route clearance packages and 23 Airmen pulled out of Robins Air Force Base carrying specialized equipment on a mission to clear debris from blocked roadways in southern Georgia. The clearing of roadways allows access for first responders and utility companies to begin caring for victims affected by the storm.

“We are sending out our route clearance package, or RCP,” said Master Sgt. Joel Furlough, flight superintendent with the 116th Civil Engineering Squadron. “The RCP is a domestic operations kit consisting of tools, chainsaws and two Kubota skid-steer tractors with attachments designed for removing debris.”

The 116th Air Control Wing is highly trained and experienced in accomplishing these types of missions. In October 2016, the wing provided route clearing after Hurricane Matthew and again in September 2017 in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

“Our Airmen train consistently for these types of situations. This is part of what we do and what the Georgia Air National Guard is all about, to help the citizens of Georgia when something like this occurs,” said Col. Jonathan Cox, commander of the 116th Mission Support Group. “Citizens in our state are in need and we have the capabilities to help relieve some of that distress.”

The 116th Air Control Wing, located at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia is part of the Georgia Air National Guard. Its primary missions include the E-8C Joint STARS and domestic operations including route clearance, security and medical response during domestic emergencies like Hurricane Michael.