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Area soldiers, donations headed to Puerto Rico for hurricane recovery

2 months 2 weeks 2 days ago Friday, September 29 2017 Sep 29, 2017 September 29, 2017 5:31 PM September 29, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ
Louisiana National Guardsmen, Spc. Billy Johnson and Pfc. Nicholas Hebert with the 922nd Horizontal Engineer Company, load medical supplies donated by the Trach Mommas in Baton Rouge, Sept. 27, 2017. The supplies are destined for Puerto Rico to provide critical aid following the destruction of both Hurricanes Irma and Maria on the island. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Josiah Pugh)

BATON ROUGE – The La. National Guard is dispatching to Puerto Rico.

More than 300 soldiers will help response and recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria. Soldiers will begin leaving Saturday morning.

Guardsmen will depart on several flights from the base in Belle Chasse, outside New Orleans, and England Air Park in Alexandria.

The Guard said it will transport medical supplies donated by the Trach Mommas, an organization in Baton Rouge.

"Our Guardsmen in Louisiana, both Soldiers and Airmen, have, unfortunately, much experience and skill in dealing with response and recovery missions following natural disasters ... hurricanes in particular," said Maj. Gen. Glenn H. Curtis, adjutant general of the LANG. "It is this experience that makes our Louisiana Guardsmen uniquely qualified to assist our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The attention of our trained, prepared and ready first responders will greatly enhance the efforts there and hopefully ease the suffering of its citizens quickly."

The 225th Engineer Brigade is sending more than 160 Soldiers from the 922nd Horizontal Engineer Company as engineer work teams to assist with debris removal.

"Our mission is to send Engineer work teams to do what we do here in the states during these situations, and that's to clear roadways, remove debris from homes and assist with establishing main power," said Sgt. 1st Class Dickie Valois, with the 1023rd. “Our Soldiers understand how much Puerto Rico needs our help right now and are ready and willing to do anything they can to help them out."

The 139th Regional Support Group is sending more than 160 Soldiers from the 239th Military Police Company to provide wide-area security support.

“The 239th will assist in protecting Puerto Rico’s citizens and their property, just as we do when called upon here in the states,” said Lt. Col. Richard Douget, 773rd Military Police Battalion commander. “Our Soldiers are excited to do this mission and look forward to making a difference and help the citizens there feel safe again.”

The 922nd, headquartered in Gonzales, has units in Plaquemine and Baton Rouge. The 205th, headquartered in Bogalusa and the 1023rd Engineer Company headquartered in Bastrop are also sending Soldiers with the 922nd.

The 259th Air Traffic Control Squadron is sending approximately 22 Airmen to support the massive aviation movements required to get resources and responders to Puerto Rico.

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