Government Neighbors

PA Airmen Deploy To Aid In Texas

Airmen Monday load their Joint Incident Site Communications Capability trailer onto a C-130J Hercules before heading to Texas. 
Credit: Master Sgt. Matt Schwartz/National Guard

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.”

A Texas Army National Guard soldier rescues a Houston resident’s dog Monday. 
Credit: First Lt. Zachary West/U.S. Army

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.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for five years for both newspaper and online publications. In 2012, Tom was honored at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation's Keystone Press Awards for his coverage of President Obama's visit to Falls Township in 2011. When he's not covering news in the area, Tom enjoys checking out the newest restaurants and bars, exploring forgotten places of industry in the area, going to local parks and spending time with his friends and family. If there's one thing you should know about Tom, he is a local news junkie through and through. Email: Phone: 215-431-1001