Master Sgt. Jim Brucculeri and Staff Sgt. Kareem Spearman from the 102nd Rescue Squadron, New York Air National Guard, scan for people in need of rescue over Kinston, N.C. Sept. 16, 2018. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Hagan)
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Two CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters departed the New York Army National Guard flight facility in Rochester on Monday morning with eight Soldiers to assist in the Hurricane Florence response in South Carolina.
The CH-47s from Company B, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation, were heading for the Joint National Guard Base McEntire in Columbia, South Carolina.
Their deployment brings the number of personnel from the New York National Guard committed to the hurricane response missions to about 130 Soldiers and Airmen.
The 106th Rescue Wing, based in Westhampton Beach, New York, began deploying Airmen in support of the response mission on Sept. 12 when 16 Airmen with four Zodiac rescue boats deployed by road to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
They were followed by an additional 64 Airmen who flew down to Dover on Sept. 13.
Additional maintenance and other support personnel were added so that the 106th Rescue Wing now has 112 Airmen on duty.
The wing deployed two HHC-130 search and rescue aircraft and one HH-60 Pave Hawk rescue helicopter in addition to the four rescue boats.
On Saturday, the 106th team staged at Naval Air Station Oceana at Norfolk, Virginia. On Sunday, the wing's four rescue boats and 19 personnel moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, where they can assist in conducting rescue missions in Kinston and Wilmington, North Carolina.
The wing assigned two Airmen to conduct liaison duties at the Joint Operations Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, and a liaison officer at the Joint Operations Center in Columbia, South Carolina.
The 106th is part of a joint rescue task force that includes Airmen from the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing and the California Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing and members of the Oregon Air National Guard's 125th Special Tactics Squadron.
"Our combat search and rescue role translates well into domestic operations," said Lt. Col. Glyn Weir, a 106th Rescue Wing combat rescue officer."
The ability of search and rescue Airmen to work well together and with other entities in a combat zone pays off when the mission is at home, Weir said.
"Rescue is not a unilateral operation. Rescue is always 100 percent of the time a joint mission and that is one of the ways combat rescue translates into domestic operations; our ability to work jointly with other organizations," Weir said.
The New York Army National Guard also deployed two UH-60 medical evacuation helicopters and 10 Soldiers assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, on Sunday. The aircraft flew to Raleigh, North Carolina, to conduct missions in support of the North Carolina National Guard.
On Monday, Sept. 17, they were conducting missions.
In addition, the New York Air National Guard's 105th Airlift Wing dispatched an air movement officer to assist the Air National Guard Crisis Action Team at Andrews Air Force Base.
The 105th Rescue Wing is also prepared to deploy a regional medical planner to assist at the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center in Columbia.