A group of Pennsylvania Air National Guard airmen have departed the Keystone State for storm-ravaged Texas.
Six airmen from the 193rd Special Operations Wing left an airport just outside Harrisburg Monday night to head to Texas to assist with communications efforts. They brought along a special communications trailer that will allow civilian first responders to communicate with military assets on the ground, officials said.
“These airmen are part of a unique mobile communications team that will assist Texas with securing and reestablishing any downed satellite or cell phone communications systems needed for recovery efforts,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “We wish them a safe journey as they represent Pennsylvania in assisting with the disaster in Texas. Pennsylvania is ready and willing to offer any support needs for those affected by this historic natural disaster. Our hearts go out to residents, law enforcement, responders, National Guard, PA Task Force 1 team members, and all others affected and involved.”
Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general, said in statement that the members of the 193rd Special Operations Wing are prepared for the mission and have previous experience.
The length of the deployment is not clear and was called for after federal activation orders from the National Guard Bureau, Wolf’s office said.
In addition to the airmen, PA Task Force 1, Pennsylvania’s elite urban search and rescue team, has been deployed to Texas to aid in rescue efforts. Bucks County officials were not immediately sure if any local firefighters were part of the deployment.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey and with those supporting the disaster relief efforts,” Carrelli said.