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NEWS | Oct. 31, 2012

N.C. aviators to lead Northeast task force

By North Carolina National Guard

RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina National Guard aviators will lead a helicopter task force launching from the Guard's base in Morrisville today to support response and recovery efforts in the Northeast in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Three North Carolina UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and 16 North Carolina Army National Guard aviators will be in the vanguard of the formation.

Two CH-47 Chinook helicopters from the Georgia Army National Guard will make up the remainder of the unit. The Chinooks have been staged at the Morrisville base since arriving yesterday afternoon.

The Aviation Task Force is being lead by North Carolina's 449th Theater Aviation Brigade, based in Morrisville, which is providing the Rotary Wing Command and Control Force Package made up of four Soldiers.

The remaining 12 North Carolina aviators are from Company C, 1st Battalion, 131st Aviation Regiment based in Salisbury. Maj. John Feutz, the 449th's operations officer, will be the officer in charge.

The task force will operate from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and assist in search and recovery and rescue operations in the disaster area as well as ferrying supplies and people and any other missions as assigned by disaster-recovery managers.

The period of the deployment will initially run through Sunday, but could extend into the following week depending on the needs of the situation.

"We are prepared to support our neighbors in the Northeast as long as we need to to help them recover from the impact of Hurricane Sandy," said Maj. Gen. Greg Lusk, adjutant general of North Carolina. "We were spared the brunt of the storm, but we're all in this together. We know our friends up north would help us if the situation were reversed."