Pennsylvania Army National Guard Soldiers load a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk into a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at Army Aviation Support Facility in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, before departing to the Puerto Rico in support of Hurricane Maria relief operations. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army National Guard.
Eighteen soldiers from the Pennsylvania National Guard and two Sikorsky Black Hawks will join the thousands of men and women currently working in Puerto Rico. The helicopters and personnel were making their way to the ravaged island Oct. 23 to join other National Guard members, active duty military and first responders.
According to the Pennsylvania guard, the 18 soldiers would most likely facilitate timely employment of aviation resources while in Puerto Rico. Pennsylvania has guard members in the U.S. Virgin islands, Texas and Florida to assist in relief efforts from hurricanes Irma and Harvey, as well as Maria. While more than 20 Pennsylvania guard members are in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, a 20-member aviation crew and two Boeing CH-47s recently returned from operations in Puerto Rico.
There are additional guard members on duty at the Pennsylvania National Guard’s joint emergency operations center. It maintains continuous communications with National Guard Bureau and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to anticipate any future requirements.