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Ohio Air National Guard responds to Puerto Rico earthquake

By 1st Lt. Lou Burton | 178th Wing | Jan. 21, 2020

GUAYANILLA, Puerto Rico – Airmen from the Ohio Air National Guard 200th Red Horse Squadron (RHS) deployed to Puerto Rico to help set up two campsites for relief and rescue agencies responding to the destruction caused by recent earthquakes.

The 26-person team will work with local authorities and National Guard members from other states to build two campsites in Guayanilla and Guánica.

The Disaster Relief Bed-down Sets (DRBS) are self-sustaining camps shipped and assembled by the members from the 200th RHS in the affected areas. They can house more than 150 responders with temperature-controlled sleeping tents, electricity, potable water, showers and laundry facilities.

The first part of building the campsites is developing logistical plans for the designated areas where the DRBS are assembled.

“Every location is different,” said Master Sgt. David Taylor, 200th Red Horse Squadron Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge. “We adapt our plans for setting up the DRBS based on the area.”

Setting up the camp entails everything from how to manage security and entry control within the camp, to assessing slope gradations to ensure proper water runoff.

“We were told to be ready within 48 hours of moving out,” said Taylor. “The level of coordination that takes is amazing. We’ve been successful at moving quickly because of the collaboration happening on the ground with the Puerto Rico National Guard’s assistance.”

“As a local, I am very grateful for the Ohio Air National Guard to be here,” said Capt. José Martínez, officer in charge for the Joint Reception Staging Onward Integration and member of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard 156th Airlift Wing. “Earthquakes are not something we expect here, so having these partnerships with other teams is very important when something like this happens.”

The Ohio Soldiers deployed Jan. 17 after Puerto Rico experienced a series of earthquakes, including a magnitude 6.4 temblor.