National Guard headed to Puerto Rico for Maria recovery help

SC National Guard will support Puerto Rico recovery

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Eric Ridilla, a maintenance test pilot with Company B, 628th Aviation Support Battalion, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, performs final checks on a CH-47 Chinook September 26, 2017 at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., before a flight mission to Puerto Rico in support of Hurricane Maria relief efforts. Gen. Robert E. Livingston., Jr. said.

This unit also supported the recovery operations in SC after Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and the flood of SC in 2015.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by Hurricane Maria", said Brig.

"I'm really excited to be there and to be able to help that it's my first humanitarian mission that fact that we're gonna help our own people and help 'em go back to daily living is really exciting to me".

The Guard's main focus of the trip is to clear roadways of debris, and repairing infrastructure where needed.

"We've done this twice in two years now, and as somebody's who was activated for both of those I can say that I've seen it, I've helped it". "We all know what it's like being from the Midlands and from the coast, so we're all looking forward to making a positive change there".

Among the reasons for the long delay in getting relief supplies distributed in Puerto Rico is that the local government can not get in contact with the local truck drivers; a 4 percent success rate is cited.

The team will arrive on Monday, and all of their equipment will be shipped on a boat, which is expected to get there by the end of the week. They leave here Sunday on aircraft.

Additionally, the 182nd is preparing approximately 15 security personnel to support airfield security operations at Jose Aponte De La Torre Airport in Puerto Rico.

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