Kentucky Guardsmen deploy for Hurricane Irma response

Soldiers with the 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade and airmen with Hawaii’s 204th Airlift Squadron load two UH-60 Black Hawks into a C-17 Globemaster at the Kentucky Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Kentucky (US Army National Guard / Spc. David Royalty)

Some 20 soldiers from US Army Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation (a company under 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade) deployed to the Virgin Islands on 7 September with two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters equipped for medical evacuations. Airmen from the Kentucky Air National Guard’s 123rd Special Tactics Squadron also deployed as part of Kentucky’s response to provide search and rescue.

“Our main job is to focus on humanitarian efforts and provide medical evacuation and triage as well as patient transfer from hurricane-affected areas in the Caribbean, especially the Virgin Islands,” said 1st Lt John Kerr, a Black Hawk Pilot with the 2/238th. “The mission will be to go where others cannot to rescue and aid any civilian personnel we can.”

The Black Hawks were loaded into a C-17 Globemaster from the Hawaii National Guard’s 204th Airlift Squadron. All the soldiers deployed are trained in rescue hoist operations and swift water rescue and can provide expedient critical care en route from hospital to hospital in the area, said the Guard.

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